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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1992 Feb;40(2):147-50.

Diabetes support groups improve health care of older diabetic patients.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, University of Health Sciences, Chicago Medical School, IL 60064.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess whether knowledge or psychosocial and glycemic benefits of a diabetes education program are enhanced by a support group for older patients.

DESIGN:

A partially randomized controlled trial involving two groups of patients: Group A, subjects who received an education program followed by 18 months of support group sessions; Group B, only the diabetes education program. A third convenience sample, Group C, received neither intervention. Groups A and B were assessed before and immediately after the education program, and all groups were assessed 2 years after the education program.

SETTING:

Diabetes clinic at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

PATIENTS:

All subjects were male (mean age = 68 +/- 1.3 years, range = 57-82 years; duration of diabetes = 10 +/- 2 years, range 3-16). Sample sizes were 11 in Group A, 13 in Group B, and 8 in Group C.

INTERVENTION:

The education program consisted of six weekly sessions covering aspects of diabetes self-care. The support group consisted of 18 monthly sessions for continuing education, discussion, and structured social activities.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

Diabetes knowledge, psychosocial factors (self-care-related quality of life, stress, family involvement in care, and social involvement), depression, and glycemic control.

RESULTS:

Group A scored better (at least P less than 0.05) on knowledge, quality of life, and depression than the other groups. Groups A and B showed less stress, greater family involvement, better glycemic control, but less involvement in social activities than Group C.

CONCLUSION:

Diabetes education programs can have long term benefits on knowledge, psychosocial functioning, and glycemic control for older diabetic patients. The addition of support groups enhances diabetes knowledge and psychosocial functioning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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