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Nurses urged to address the 'burden' on diabetes patients' families

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The physical, financial and emotional burden of diabetes is carried by the entire family, not just by the person with diabetes, according to the DAWN2 global survey.

The study, conducted across 17 countries and four continents, into the psychosocial aspects of the management of diabetes,

surveyed 122 family members, 500 people with diabetes and 281 healthcare professionals (nurses, dieticians, general practitioners and specialists) to find new ways of reducing the burden of the condition.

The initial UK results show that 54 per cent of family members are anxious about the possibility that the person they live with will develop serious complications from the condition, 70 per cent of family members of insulin-treated people with diabetes fear that their loved one will become hypoglycaemic during the night and 25 per cent of family members report a negative financial impact on themselves due to the diabetes of their loved one.

It reported 19% of family members experience that their loved one is being discriminated against because of diabetes and that the community they live in is intolerant of diabetes.

But almost eight out of 10 (79 per cent) of family members have not attended an education programme about diabetes.

Dr Neil Munro, associate specialist in diabetes at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, said: 'As a healthcare professional it is important to prioritise the needs of your patients but also to understand the concerns of those close to them. These results highlight that family members are often left worried and uncertain about the implications of diabetes. This should encourage healthcare professionals to consider not only their diabetes patients but also their loved ones who may also be affected.

DAWN2 is a global Novo Nordisk initiative conducted in collaboration with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the International Alliance of Patient Organisations (IAPO), the Steno Diabetes Center and a range of other national, regional and global partners.

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