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Rural Health Information Hub

Self-Management Model

Diabetes self-management refers to the activities and behaviors an individual undertakes to control and treat their condition. People with diabetes must monitor their health regularly. Diabetes self-management typically occurs in the home and includes:

  • Testing blood sugar (glucose)
  • Consuming balanced meals and appropriate portion sizes
  • Engaging in regular exercise
  • Drinking water and avoiding dehydration
  • Taking medications as prescribed
  • Adjusting medications as needed
  • Conducting self-foot checks
  • Monitoring other signs or symptoms caused by diabetes

People with diabetes can learn self-management skills through diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) programs. DSMES programs provide both education and ongoing support to control and manage diabetes. These programs help people learn self-management skills and provide support to sustain self-management behaviors. DSMES programs have helped people with diabetes lower blood sugar (glucose) levels, prevent complications, improve quality of life, and reduce healthcare costs.

The Stanford Diabetes Self-Management program is an evidence-based approach designed to improve diabetes self-management practices, and delivered by certified educators.

While it is important for people with diabetes to develop and engage in self-management practices, self-management can also involve family members, friends, or other caregivers. These individuals can offer emotional support, model healthy behaviors, participate in exercise activities, help monitor blood sugar (glucose) levels, administer insulin or other medications, and open communication around effective self-management practices. Enhanced social support from family and friends can help build self-efficacy for diabetes self-management. Self-efficacy, related to diabetes self-management, is an individual's belief in their ability to successfully manage their own health needs. Self-efficacy is important for effective diabetes self-management.

Examples of Rural Diabetes Self-Management Programs

  • The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) is a small-group workshop designed to address chronic conditions, including diabetes. Two trained peer facilitators deliver the six-week workshop. The workshop covers health strategies — addressing diet, exercise, and medication use — and teaches techniques for handling the mental and emotional aspects of the condition, managing symptoms, and communicating with healthcare providers.
  • The University of Virginia Diabetes Tele-Education Program offers diabetes education courses that teach diabetes self-management skills. The program is delivered through video conferencing technology and made available to people who have, or are at high risk for developing, diabetes.

Implementation Considerations

It is important that patients understand the benefit of diabetes self-management activities. Programs can encourage healthcare providers to speak openly with patients about self-management and refer patients to self-management programs. Patients with diabetes should be encouraged to ask questions and be reminded that these activities can help them to achieve successful disease management.

Program Clearinghouse Examples

Resources to Learn More

Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support in Rural America
An overview of the benefits of diabetes self-management programs. Describes different types of diabetes self-management education and support programs available to communities.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support
Provides links to resources and tools to help communities develop, promote, implement and sustain diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) programs. Includes a DSMES toolkit, technical assistance guide, policies, reports, and several case studies.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP)
Describes the Stanford self-management model, an evidence-based program delivered by certified trainers, designed to improve diabetes self-management practices. The trainers are non-health professionals who may have diabetes themselves and have completed the master training program. Includes educational resources that supplement the program curriculum.
Organization(s): Self-Management Resource Center

My Diabetes Self-Management Goal
A worksheet helpful to individuals when managing their diabetes and setting personal health goals.
Organization(s): New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Date: 6/2012