Type 1 diabetes patients' experiences of, and need for, social support after attending a structured education programme: a qualitative longitudinal investigation.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To explore patients' experiences of, views about and need for, social support after attending a structured education programme for type 1 diabetes. BACKGROUND: Patients who attend structured education programmes attain short-term improvements in biomedical and quality-of-life measures but require support to sustain self-management principles over the longer term. Social support can influence patients' self-management practices; however, little is known about how programme graduates use other people's help. DESIGN: This study was informed by the principles of grounded theory and involved concurrent data collection and analysis. Data were analysed using an inductive, thematic approach. METHODS: In-depth interviews were undertaken postcourse, six and 12 months later, with 30 adult patients with type 1 diabetes recruited from Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating courses in the United Kingdom. RESULTS: Patients' preferences for social support from other people ranged from wanting minimal involvement, to benefiting from auxiliary forms of assistance, to regular monitoring and policing. New self-management skills learnt on their courses prompted and facilitated patients to seek and obtain more social support. Support received/expected from parents varied according to when patients were diagnosed, but parents' use of outdated knowledge could act as a barrier to effective support. Support sought from others, including friends/colleagues, was informed by patients' domestic/employment circumstances. CONCLUSION: This study responds to calls for deeper understanding of the social context in which chronic illness self-management occurs. It highlights how patients can solicit and receive more social support from family members and friends after implementing self-care practices taught on education programmes. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Health professionals including diabetes specialist nurses and dietitians should explore: patients' access to and preferences for social support; how patients might be encouraged to capitalise on social support postcourse; and new ways to inform/educate people within patients' social networks.
Rankin, D; Barnard, K; Elliott, J; Cooke, D; Heller, S; Gianfrancesco, C; Taylor, C; Lawton, J; UK NIHR DAFNE Study Group,
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