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Title: Capturing the impact of patient education for people with type 2 diabetes
Author: Cooper, Helen C.
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2001
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The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus is increasing worldwide and with it, the demands on heath service resources. As the long-term outcomes of this disease are dependent upon reducing lifestyle risk factors, together with effective treatment and screening strategies, much of the responsibility for diabetes management ultimately resides with the patient. Therefore patient education is a key part of the care of this population. A trial of an empowerment based health education programme was underpinned by the theories associated with health protective behaviour and those associated with adult learning. These align patient education to an experiential learning process within which beliefs about self-efficacy and the effects of social-environmental influences are central to outcomes. This view was compatible with current health care policies which see patients taking a more active and informed role in their disease management. The trial utilised a randomised controlled wait-list design to allow for the ethical limitations of excluding patients from educational treatment, and permitted collection of data over a short- and long-term period. A qualitative approach to data collection, using symbolic interactionism, was also integrated into the clinical trial. The two types of data were treated as complementary so that the outcomes of the trial relied upon detailed exploration of how they complemented each other. Eighty-nine patients were recruited from three diabetes centres. All patients recruited were blindly randomised to a 'Look After Yourself education programme. Clinical, behavioural and psychological outcomes were measured at six and twelve months. The relationship between these, the content of the intervention and participants' perspectives was assessed through ten focus group interviews. The combined results showed that the educational intervention had modified participants' personal models of diabetes by increasing their knowledge and understanding, by clarifying their beliefs and by changing their attitudes toward the disease and its management. It facilitated the acquisition of skills and prompted movement into the behaviour change cycle for the majority of those taking part, regardless of socio-economic status. The impact of these changes upon clinical outcomes was most effective where participants perceived their risk factors to be greatest. These findings supported the production of a framework for guiding nursing intervention to enhance patient self-management of diabetes. To adhere to such a model of care, however, the trial highlighted the need to expand the biomedical orientation to patient education so that it allows for patients' self-perceived needs. This demands integration of the medical and behavioural sciences into the practice of diabetes care and recognition of the need to support patients in their lifelong task of maintaining their own health. It recognises that care for chronic illness is an inherently different social enterprise than is care for acute illness. The findings have therefore highlighted the training needs for health professionals so that they can develop the skills that can enhance this process. Whilst these conclusions acknowledge the importance of continuing education and support for patients, such clinical practice will rely upon tailoring nursing intervention to the outcomes of a diabetes-specific assessment instrument. In this way, educational referral can become an integral part of a patient's treatment profile. Only then might health professionals authenticate a culture that supports patient choice so that they can take greater control over their health.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Diabetes mellitus Medical care Medicine