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Rural Health Information Hub

Diabetes Education and Care

Compared to urban populations, rural residents have higher rates of diabetes risk factors including being overweight/obese, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being physically inactive. Rural communities have higher rates of diabetes-related hospital deaths and only 62% of rural communities have access to diabetes self-management education and support.

The American Diabetes Association's (ADA's) Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes provides guidelines for diagnosing and treating people who have diabetes. The guidelines include the following evidence-based recommendations for improving care and promoting population health:

  • Classifying and diagnosing diabetes
  • Preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes
  • Medically evaluating and assessing comorbidities
  • Facilitating behavior change approaches
  • Target blood sugar levels
  • Diabetes technology
  • Managing obesity
  • Using medicines to control blood sugar
  • Managing cardiovascular disease
  • Foot care
  • In-hospital care
  • Advocacy

The guidelines also include recommendations for specific populations, including older adults, children and adolescents, and pregnant women.

Effective screening, education, and self-management can improve the lives of people with diabetes who are living in rural communities. Diabetes self-management and education support (DSMES) programs can help people with diabetes to develop behaviors to help manage diabetes more effectively. Additionally, partnerships between healthcare providers and community groups can support the goals of DSMES programs, such as reducing the risks of diabetes-related complications and common barriers to the adoption and maintenance of healthy lifestyle habits, while improving care continuity and clinical outcomes.

Implementation considerations related to community partnerships are available in Module 4.

Resources to Learn More

Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – 2020 Abridged for Primary Care Providers
An abridged version of the standards of medical care featuring the most relevant evidence-based recommendations for clinical providers when diagnosing and treating adults and children with all forms of diabetes.
Citation: Clinical Diabetes, 38(1), 10-38
Organization(s): American Diabetes Association
Date: 1/2020