June 27, 2012

Group Diabetes Education One Time Not Good

Do you feel stressed, irritated, or downright angry when you read some of medical news headlines? I do and I have to read something else to get control of my run-a-way feelings. One of my favorite things to read is the introduction titled “Joyful?” by Will Ryan for his blogs. Then I go into my positive attitude routine and soon I am feeling like tackling the offending article again.

Such was the case of this article. I could see all sorts of negatives when I first read the title “Doubts Over Long Term Impact Of Group Education For Diabetes Patients.” I had visions of more studies like many of the rigged studies of self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) where they purposely excluded anyone interested in SMBG. I could see this as a rigged study as well.

I feel better about the study after reading it completely. The first paragraph helped when it stated, “that there are no long term benefits from type 2 diabetes group education programs that only take place once.” That is totally understandable as most education is so loaded with information that most people do have trouble absorbing it in one session, to say nothing of retaining it all even with two sessions.

Then they raised some more questionable reasoning about how the study may have been pulled together. You also need to question what the level and detail of education may have been that would cause the following statement to be made - “Lifestyle and biomedical results at 3 years were the same with the intervention group and the control group, but the patients’ beliefs about illness seemed to have improved.”

I may be in total error, but if the patients in the intervention group were given quality education and reinforcement for the three years, they should have been much more efficient and knowledgeable in their management of their diabetes than the control group. Of course, the well-trained healthcare professionals may not have been quality instructors capable of educating the intervention group.

The article does quote from “an accompanying editorial that the outcome of the trial is discouraging and that we should focus again on the setting of appropriate targets by professionals who care for patients with diabetes and the patients themselves." This seems to nail the crux of the problem and properly put the results on the professionals who may have known the topic, but were not able to communicate with the patients.

This seems to be true in so many cases where the professionals may know the material, but lack the essential communication skills to assist patients.

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