Diabetic care requires constant, full-time maintenance. To be effective, it must continue outside of the clinical care system, beyond the community, and into the home. Homes are opportunities for entire families to contribute to diabetes prevention and management, by offering emotional support, eating healthier meals and snacks, taking family walks or bike rides, monitoring glucose levels, and taking/administering insulin and medications. Effective home care may enable diabetics to overcome literacy, transportation, and access barriers.
Self-management is an individual's ability to manage their own diabetic needs. Improved self-management skills include maintaining diet, exercise, as well as blood sugar values and monitoring medications. Self-management should also include self-foot checks and monitoring other symptoms that are caused by diabetes. Developing self-management practices are important for the individual with diabetes but should also include family members, friends, or other individuals that can provide support. Peer support with other community members facing diabetes facilitates self-management by opening communication channels to discuss strategies and challenges to maintaining effective self-management practice.
Self-efficacy is the individual's belief that they can manage their own diabetic needs. Without self-efficacy it is difficult to develop problem solving self-management skills in diabetic patients, especially when also combating health literacy issues. Family and friends can also act as a support network to help directly with diabetes management as well as social and mental support. Mental health is a critical component to individual self-efficacy and can impact self-management ability. Improved self-efficacy paired with mental health can demonstrate a vast improvement in self-management skills and reduction in diabetic symptoms.
Resources to Learn More
The Stanford self-management model is an evidence based program designed to improve diabetes self-management practices but does not interfere with clinical treatment. It is written for a variety of literacy levels and is given by certified educators. The educators for this program are lay-persons, often with diabetes, who have already completed the program. Website includes educational materials that supplement the curriculum as well as self-efficacy scales and items that can be used separately.
Organization(s): Self-Management Resource Center
Diabetes Self-Management Education
A list of various resources that can be used to improve self-management and self-management education specifically for diabetes. This website summarizes self-management programs, which are reimbursable and where to learn more about certain programs.
Organization(s): National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
Self-Management Goal Worksheet
A goal worksheet specific to managing diabetes and setting personal health goals.
Organization(s): New York City Department of Health