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Improving Quality Of Self-Care For Persons With Type 2 Diabetes With Insulin Treatment

 

Background

The topic of the master’s thesis is about type 2 diabetes patients and their guidance in the beginning of the self-care process. The selection and relevance of this topic is based on the needs of the ageing population, which is one of the rising demographic trends. In the future, there will be more seniors needing health care services and diabetes treatment is one of those. Unfortunately, this means that there will not be sufficient resources (time, money, human resources) for a face-to-face communication between the patient and the health care providers.

Therefore, the patients have to take more responsibility and control over their own health and the role of self-monitoring and self-medication will grow. The quicker the diabetes patients learn how to manage their own blood glucose levels, the quicker their quality of life will improve. That is not as easy as it sounds since there are several steps that the patients have to go through in order to get their levels in balance.

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Approach

The focus of the thesis was to study different methods to improve the learning experience of the patients. For this purpose, it was important to get an insight to both the health care professionals´ and the type 2 diabetes patients` world. The current status of the diabetes care and treatment methods were defined after running interviews with nurses, doctors, patients and other professionals working with diabetes-related issues.

The interviews confirmed my original hypothesis about how incoherent the current instructions are for type 2 diabetes patients. It was also evident, that the instructions and how those were understood played a significant role in the quality and success of care. Therefore, pedagogical theories related to adult learners and their motivation to learn was studied such as Bloom´s taxonomy, which helps to define the level of learning.

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Results

Next to the interviews, observations and questionnaires, I have used in my design process an affinity diagram, card-sorting method with the patients and created personas out of the findings. As a result of these, it was possible to organize the information flow that the patients received in the beginning of the self-care. The outcome of the thesis is a four-week learning program, which helps the type 2 diabetes patients to get familiar with the equipment, medication routine and tools for managing their diabetes better.

The essential parts of this learning program are a starter kit, which is handed out at the clinic, and the weekly follow-up letters and monthly supply packagings, which are sent to the patients home. The concept was prototyped and the feedback was collected from the senior patients with diabetes. The conclusion of the thesis stays partly on a concept and prototype level, but some parts of it will be utilized in Mendor Ltd´s, the collaboration partner´s, product development.

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