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Incorporating Peer Support in Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support

Nov 22, 2021

By Mayra Cantazaro, MSN, NP, DNP, CDCES, BC-ADM

With the growing prevalence of type 2 diabetes and its associated healthcare costs, providing efficient diabetes care and effective glycemic management support is fundamental for patient care. Improving glycemic management in people with diabetes helps prevent both micro and macrovascular complications. Essential components of effective diabetes care consist of diabetes-self management education and support (DSMES), medication taking, lifestyle modifications, including nutrition and exercise regimens, in addition to peer support

Over time we have witnessed the effectiveness of DSMES services in improving diabetes knowledge and self-management skills, consequently leading to improved glycemic outcomes. DSMES integrated with peer support can enhance self-management education and provide essential ongoing support to both people with diabetes and their families or caretakers. However, limited evidence exists on benefits of combining DSMES with peer support interventions and the impact it has on glucose management in people with type 2 diabetes. 

In a recent meta-analysis study published in Epidemiology and Health, Azmiardi and colleagues analyzed the effect of peer support and DSMES on glycemic outcomes in people with type 2 diabetes. This study suggests that DSMES programs that integrated peer support effectively reduced HBA1C in participants. Healthcare providers should consider offering DSMES and peer support services with smaller group sizes, weekly meetings and compact intervention to help achieve lower glycemic targets.

This study brings to light the need to use peer support together with DSMES as an effective way to improve diabetes care.  As healthcare providers, we should consider conducting or evaluating clinical trials that incorporate both peer support and DSMES components. Studies looking at these factors may improve diabetes outcomes and help identify cost-effective treatment strategies.  As of today, there is still much to learn and discover about the various interventions and components involving peer support with diabetes education. However, as research in the area expands, diabetes care and education specialists will be able to further integrate peer support interventions into other clinical and outreach services involving diabetes care management.

Resources to Incorporate Peer Support into Practice

To achieve positive outcomes, it’s imperative that people with diabetes have access to ongoing support from their healthcare provider. Access practical guidance to help assess a client’s social support and refer to evidence-based peer support at DiabetesEducator.org/PeerSupportForHCP.


References:

  1.  Azmiardi A, Murti B, Febrinasari RP, Tamtomo DG. The Effect of Peer Support in Diabetes Self-Management Education on Glycemic Control in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis [published online ahead of print, 2021 Oct 22]. Epidemiol Health. 2021;e2021090. doi:10.4178/epih.e2021090



ADCES Perspectives on Diabetes Care

The Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists Perspectives on Diabetes Care covers diabetes, prediabetes and other cardiometabolic conditions. Not all views expressed reflect the official position of the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists.

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HEALTHCARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your diabetes care and education specialist or healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. To find a diabetes care and education specialist near you, visit DiabetesEducator.org/Find.

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