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Diabetes Education and Care

Compared to urban populations, rural residents report having less control of their blood sugar, poorer lipid profiles, higher blood pressures, lower rates of diabetes screenings, and fewer opportunities for preventive health services.

The ADA's guidelines for quality diabetic care includes:

  • One provider visit per year
  • Two or more A1C exams
  • Foot exam
  • Dilated eye exam annually

Effective screening, education, and self-management strategies can improve the lives of diabetics living in both rural communities. Partnerships between clinical and community groups should aim to reduce 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.

Effective partnerships:

  • Encourage communication between clinical providers and community stakeholders
  • Provide services where target participants live, work, and play
  • Provide cross-referrals and coordinated follow-up support for rural residents
  • Coordinate and disseminate clearly-worded, culturally appropriate education materials
  • Share findings from diabetes and self-management programs that are applicable to rural communities
  • Encourage local organizations to promote wellness (e.g., healthy break areas, competitive incentives to encourage healthy behaviors)

Resources to Learn More

Improving Diabetes Care in Rural Communities: An Overview of Current Initiatives and a Call for Renewed Efforts
Discusses the importance of addressing diabetes in rural communities and specific strategies to improve diabetes care.
Author(s): Massey, C.M., Appel, S.J., Buchanan, K.L., & Cherrington, A.L.
Citation: Clinical Diabetes, 28(1), 20-27
Date: 11/2010

Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes
A look into the details about recommended standards of medical care for persons with diabetes. This document will provide strategies for prevention and maintenance of diabetes for clinical providers and is updated regularly.
Organization(s): American Diabetes Association
Date: 1/2019