“Difficult paths can be less difficult if patients and nurses walk together…”

This research emerged from the need of a group of nurses in improving the care of people with chronic disease, specifically patients with diabetes mellitus type 2. Despite the professionals’ effort, they were not satisfied with the results of their clients because lots of them had difficulty in controlling their diabetes as well as integrating the treatment of the disease in their daily life.

Some of the initial questions of these nurses were:

Despite telling patients what they should do to control their diabetes, they don´t do it. Are we doing something wrong?

How can we involve, in a more effective way, the person in the treatment?  Are there different ways of doing it? What are the best strategies to follow?

How can we help our patients to be more autonomous in order to make themselves control diabetes instead of diabetes controlling their lives?

What are the real difficulties that patients feel by including diabetes in their lives?

How can we support our patients to choose and do what they want and what they think it is better for their health?

Thus, together with three investigators of a School of Nursing, this group of nurses started a research work that had been developed for 4 years and that culminated in the implementation and evaluation of an intervention programme in order to turn patients more competent in the management of their diabetes.

But only patients had positive results?

This research has also shown that the path that the nurses took, based on the care reflection and on the approach from theory to practice, resulted in a different way of being and in a more positive attitude to the problem of adherence behaviours. The nurses felt more capable of helping patients developing their potential and taking care of themselves.

Blog post written byMaria Rui Sousa

Dr. Svante writes about this article, “The healthcare systems of today face many challenges. Particularly, the proportion of patients with chronic diseases increases. One key perspective in all chronic care is the focus on patients as persons with often-huge potentials to use their own resources living with and managing the disease. Thus, chronic care is – in addition to the medico-technical perspective – very much about helping and educating patients in continuous dialogue; empowering them to manage the disease in everyday life. To date, however, there are few reports that describe successful improvement processes that aim to meet these challenges. The action research process we get to know in this paper is an excellent exception. In partnership with external researchers and with input from patients, a group of nurses designed and tested an educational programme for 85 patients with diabetes type 2 – “Living in Harmony with diabetes”. A PAR approach involving qualitative, as well as quantitative methods, were used. Thus, the reader gets an in-depth description of the AR process as well as the successful results of the initiative. In more detail, the programme showed a positive impact on psychosocial variables, self-care behaviour as well as metabolic control, helping patients to better cope with their disease and improve the control over their health condition.


We invite you to learn more about this experience by reading our article HERE. Free 30-day access is available for this article beginning 29 November, 2017.

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