A new study has found that peer support helps to improve the control of blood sugar in diabetics . It was shown that phone calls to peers facing similar issues about a disease provide a beneficial alternative to traditional nursing care for patients with diabetes .
Many nurse care management programmes have been found to be ineffective for treating all patients with diabetes, and that a lack of face-to-face care can be obstructive in developing quality management programmes. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, examined 244 male veterans with uncontrolled diabetes, placing them either on a peer-support or a traditional nurse care management programme. Those patients that had uncontrolled diabetes exhibited high blood sugar levels during the three months prior to the start of the study.
They assessed the results of the peer intervention and nurse care programmen, as well as monitoring changes in insulin therapy, blood pressure and adherence to oral therapy regimens, with patients who received peer support managing their conditions better.
Michele Heisler, lead researcher on the study, commented “We know that many, many people with diabetes know what they are supposed to be doing – taking medications, starting insulin if oral medications alone no longer work well enough, following diet plans, maintaining physical activity, monitoring disease status and symptoms – but [patients] find it too difficult to do well. They also may know what they are supposed to do but not how to do it.”
He added “Many people need more self-management support than over-extended healthcare systems can provide.”

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