Exploring patient satisfaction of a joint-consultation clinic for trigeminal neuralgia: Enabling improved decision-making

Br J Pain. 2022 Apr;16(2):237-242. doi: 10.1177/20494637211045877. Epub 2021 Oct 19.


Background: Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a relatively rare condition which has a profound impact not only on the patient but also on those around them. There is no cure for TN, and the management of the condition is complex. The most effective forms of treatment are either through medication, neurosurgery, or combination of the two. Each option has risks and implications for the patient. As with all clinical decisions, it is important for patients to understand and be fully informed of the treatments available to them. A London UK unit adopted a joint-consultation clinic approach where the patient meets with both physician and neurosurgeon at the same time to discuss treatment options. The purpose of this evaluation is to understand patients' level of satisfaction with the joint-consultation clinic and evaluate utilisation of a clinical decision-making tool.

Method: Patients who had attended the joint-consultation clinic over a period of 12 months were invited to participate in a telephone or paper survey (N = 55). Responses were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.

Results: Forty-one patients (77% response rate) participated in the survey, and the results were overwhelmingly positive for the joint-consultation clinic regarding satisfaction. The benefits were broad ranging including increased understanding, collaboration and confidence in decision-making.

Conclusions: A joint-consultation clinic comprising a neurosurgeon and a physician for the treatment of TN is valued by patients who become better informed and able to make decisions about their care. Positive application of clinical decision-making aids in this situation offers potential across specialities.

Keywords: Trigeminal neuralgia; decision making; multidisciplinary; neurosurgery; patient satisfaction.