Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Condition Shows Improvement with Peer Support
A few months ago, a doctor began texting her adolescent patients to remind them to test their blood sugar levels and take their medication. She was also available for support if needed. It seems her approach has been investigated and a buddy system for adults has been set up which, proves to work just as well.
Peer Support Study
244 VA (Veterans) with diabetes were assigned either a peer or a nurse manager to provide support through a blocked telephone communication system. In other words, telephone numbers were not given out but a communication system allowed them to contact their peer via phone. The participants who were randomly put in the peer group did exceptional well. While the group of participants who had a nurse manager, as a “buddy” did better not significantly.
Diabetics Respond Well to Peer Support
It appears when two people have the same disease/condition in this case uncontrolled diabetes talking to someone who has the same issues is beneficial. The peer group participants improved their blood sugar levels and over all attitude about their diabetes by 8%.
What the VA set out to Accomplish with this Study
“We are trying to tap into the underappreciated expertise of patients," Heisler says. "Most disease management programs put patients in the 'learner' role, whether nurse care management programs or 'expert' peer programs. But patients know a lot about living with their condition and strategies they have developed so have a lot to share with others also struggling. Our program hoped to mobilize patients themselves to realize how much they themselves had to offer another person with diabetes and enjoy the sense of meaning and pleasure that being needed and helping another can provide.”
The study appears to have worked and hopefully more people who work with diabetics will start a similar system to help their patients and or community members who suffer from diabetes.