The role of exercise in the well-being of people with insulin dependent diabetes mellitus : perceptions of patients and health professionals
Results from the clinic support, encouragement and advice section showed an overwhelming patient perception of a very poor service from their health professionals as far as exercise was concerned. Hospital b showed consistently higher scores than the other three clinics but still only half of the respondents gave a positive impression of exercise advice and support. Over 2/3 of all respondents reported a preference for an exercise advisor at their clinic. In order to obtain a balanced picture, it was necessary to check the perceptions of the health professionals against those of the patients as research has shown that patients may believe they have not been given information from their doctors and nurses even when they have been, due to the stressful situation of hospital visits. Study 3 was designed to produce information about health professionals' real views and behaviours towards exercise both for themselves and for their patients. The methodology employed was that of focus groups which were taped, transcribed and analysed using qualitative and quantitative methods. It was clear from the results that the patients' perceptions of an inferior exercise education programme from the clinics was accurate. The health professionals freely admitted that exercise had been put last on the agenda, largely because the health professionals themselves did not understand or have knowledge of the possible protective value that exercise could have for their patients' cardiovascular, stress-reactivity and psychological well-being systems. There is a clear need for a large scale randomised control trial with long term follow up on the physiological and psychological benefits of exercise for people with insulin dependent diabetes.