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Differences in perceived barriers for diabetes patients

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The perceptions of physicians and patients differ The perceptions of physicians and patients differ on diabetes care

Perceptions of diabetes control differ between physicians and adults with type 2 diabetes who are uncontrolled on basal insulin.

Findings from the Perceptions of Control (POC) study presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes found that people with type 2 diabetes had a broader definition of control than physicians. Patients were more likely to perceive obstacles in maintaining control and reported a greater impact on quality of life than physician’s expected.

In the POC study more physicians defined control by the frequency/severity of hypoglycaemia, complications and HbA1c level, ie the more physical aspects of diabetes. Patients identified a larger list such as clinical measures, energy levels, predictability of life, how much they thought about their disease, stress, family obligations and peer support.

Paul Dromgoole, a diabetes specialist nurse and diabetes clinical lecturer from North Lincolnshire, said that these findings could relate to the fact that many physicians are under pressure to ‘tick boxes’ during diabetes checks.

‘We shouldn’t be critical of physicians here, but I do think we should spend more time exploring patients’ perceptions of what it’s like to live with this condition,’ he said.

‘If we do not engage with the real barriers for the person with diabetes as well as our own, than we are unlikely to make any progress,’ he added.

Mr Dromgoole said that all health professionals can learn from results like this to help them individualise care for each patient.

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