My RUOP III project was to address the lack of education on shingles, postherpetic neuralgia, and the newly approved shingles vaccine. Incidence of singles in the elderly is high and in Grand Coulee, Washington, there is a large elderly population. Education on shingles is important because patients must receive antiviral therapy within 72 hours. A group of elderly citizens identified shingles as a concern in their community. Patients came in with questions about shingles, postherpetic neuralgia, and the vaccine. The physicians and nurse practitioners asked me to research the vaccine for them. I created a patient educational brochure that included the cause of shingles, who is at risk, signs and symptoms, treatment options, the vaccine, and postherpetic neuralgia. The brochure is to be dispersed at Grand Coulee Community Hospital and Clinic and Indian Health Services in Nespelem. I also educated two physicians and one nurse practitioner on the shingles vaccine. The brochure will make a long-term impact by educating patients on the signs of shingles and encourage patients to see their doctor within 72 hours to receive antiviral therapy. The physicians and nurse practitioner were able to pass on the knowledge of the vaccine to their patients the next day. I conclude that although I did not see many immediate results from my project, it will improve the quality of health care delivered in the long term.
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