Patients’ Perspectives on Their Use of Diabetes Education Centres in Peel-Halton Region in Southern Ontario

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    Can J Diabetes 36 (2012) 214e217Canadian Journal of Diabetesjournal homepage:

    www.canadianjournalofdiabetes.comPerspectives in Practice

    Patients Perspectives on Their Use of Diabetes Education Centresin Peel-Halton Region in Southern Ontario

    Enza Gucciardi MHSc, PhD a,*, Vivian Wing-Sheung Chan HBSc, PhD(c) b, Brian Kam Chuen Lo BASc c,Mariella Fortugno BASc d, Stacey Horodezny BAA, RD e, Susan Swartzack BScN, MPA, RN f

    a School of Nutrition, Ryerson University, Toronto, CanadabDepartment of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canadac School of Nutrition, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canadad School of Nutrition, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canadae Trillium Health Centre, Toronto, CanadafMississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network, Toronto, Canadaa r t i c l e i n f o

    Article history:Received 6 February 2012Received in revised form6 February 2012Accepted 6 February 2012

    Keywords:attendancediabetes education centresdiabetes mellitusdiabetes self-management educationpatient satisfactionMots cls:frquentationcentres denseignement sur le diabtediabte sucrenseignement sur la prise en charge dudiabte par le patientsatisfaction des patients* Address for correspondence: Enza Gucciardi, ANutrition, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street,Canada.

    E-mail address: (E. Gucciardi

    1499-2671/$ e see front matter 2012 Canadian Dia b s t r a c t

    Objective: This study aimed to explore patient utilization of and barriers to attending diabetes educationcentres (DEC) in Southern Ontario, Canada.Methods: Internet questionnaires were completed by 221 individuals living with diabetes in the Peel-Halton region of Ontario.Results: Approximately 67% of respondents attended a DEC. The majority reported gaining a betterunderstanding and ability to manage diabetes. Regular DEC follow-up was relatively low. Reasons forfinding DEC visits unhelpful include a lack of individualized or tailored services, insensitive staff, andperceiving no benefits from attending. Common reasons for individuals never attending a DEC includediabetes education being provided by primary care physicians (PCPs), lack of DEC promotion from PCPs,patients perception of knowledge and confidence in managing the disease, and inconvenient DEClocation and program scheduling.Conclusions: DEC utilization appears to improve patients perception of their ability to manage diabetes.Creating better partnerships between PCPs andDECs could improve referrals to and patient participation atDECs. Delivering more accessible and patient-oriented services could improve patient retention at DECs.

    2012 Canadian Diabetes Association

    r s u m

    Objectifs : Cette tude avait pour but dexplorer la frquentation et les obstacles la frquentation descentres denseignement sur le diabte (CED) chez les patients du sud de lOntario, au Canada.mthodes : Les questionnaires en ligne ont t remplis par 221individus atteints de diabte de la rgionde Peel et Halton en Ontario.Rsultats : Approximativement 67% des rpondants ont frquent un CED. La majorit a rapport avoiracquis une meilleure comprhension et de meilleures habilets de prise en charge du diabte. Le suivirgulier en CED a t relativement faible. Les raisons justifiant linutilit des visites en CED incluent unmanque de services individualiss ou personnaliss, linsensibilit du personnel et la perception de ne tireraucun avantage frquenter les CED. Les raisons frquemment rapportes par les individus pour ne jamaisfrquenter un CED incluent le fait que lenseignement sur le diabte est fourni par les mdecins de soinsprimaires (MSP), lemanquedepromotiondesCEDpar lesMSP, laperceptiondespatients sur la connaissanceet la confiance lis la prise en charge de la maladie, et lemplacement et lhoraire inappropris des CED.Conclusions : La frquentation des CED semble amliorer la perception des patients sur leur habilet deprise en charge dudiabte. La cration dunmeilleur partenariat entre lesMSP et les CEDpourrait amliorerlorientation et la participation du patient au programme des CED. Une offre de services plus accessibles etorients vers le patient pourrait amliorer la fidlisation des patients la frquentation des CED.

    2012 Canadian Diabetes Associationssistant Professor, School ofToronto, Ontario, M5B 2K3,


    betes Association

    Delta:1_given nameDelta:1_given nameDelta:1_surnameDelta:1_given nameDelta:1_given nameDelta:1_surnameDelta:1_given nameDelta:1_given nameDelta:1_surnameDelta:1_given nameDelta:1_given

  • Table 1Demographic characteristics

    Characteristics n (%) ormean (SD)

    Sex (n203)Male 104 (51.2)Female 99 (48.8)

    Age group (n206)18e34 years 14 (6.8)35e49 years 31 (15.0)50e64 years 79 (38.3)65e74 years 45 (19.8)75e84 years 35 (17.0)84 years of age and older 1 (1.0)

    Type of diabetes (n220)Type 1 diabetes 30 (13.6)Type 2 diabetes 180 (81.8)Prediabetes 7 (3.2)

    When first diagnosed with diabetes (n217)Within 1 year 23 (10.6)1e5 years ago 62 (28.6)6e10 years ago 51 (23.5)11 or more years ago 81 (37.3)

    Mean number of other health problems (n221) 2.64 1.80Annual household income (n190)Under $20,000 25 (13.2)$20,000e$29,999 20 (10.5)$30,000e$39,999 17 (8.9)$40,000e$59,999 29 (15.3)$60,000e$79,999 15 (7.9)$80,000e$99,999 20 (10.5)$100,000 and Over 34 (17.9)

    Highest level of education reached (n184)Less than high school 25 (13.6)Competed high school 54 (29.3)Completing undergraduate university or college degree 10 (5.4)Competed undergraduate university or college degree 78 (42.4)Completing postgraduate university degree 1 (0.5)Completed postgraduate university degree 16 (8.7)

    Country born in (n208)Canada 110 (52.9)Other 98 (47.1)

    SD, standard deviation.

    E. Gucciardi et al. / Can J Diabetes 36 (2012) 214e217 215Introduction

    Diabetes mellitus is a chronic illness that requires a lifelongcommitment to complex lifestyle modifications. Diabetes self-management education (SME) is recommended by the CanadianDiabetes Association (CDA) as a valuable resource that empowerspatients to participate in themanagement of their diabetes (1). SMEfacilitates an understanding of the disease, its management, andthe development of technical and problem-solving skills requiredto attain andmaintain glycemic (blood sugar) control. It is generallyprovided by nurses and dietitians at Diabetes Education Centres(DECs). Individuals who understand how to manage their diabetesare more likely to engage in regular self-care, resulting in betterhealth (2).

    Despite the documented benefits of SME in assisting patientswith self-management, studies suggest that SME delivered at DECshave been underutilized in Ontario (3,4). A recent study conductedby Shah and Booth (4) investigating the predictors and effective-ness of diabetes SME in Ontario revealed that only 30% of the 781study participants attended DECs across Ontario.

    There is a large body of United States (US)-based literature thathas investigated the under utilization of DECs by studying patient-perceived barriers. These studies have found that patient barriersto DEC attendance include accessibility issues (i.e., transportationdifficulties, inconvenient location or program scheduling), longclass hours and lack of insurance coverage for SME (5,6). Othercommon barriers to attending DECs include patients attitudes,such as misunderstanding the seriousness of diabetes (5), skepti-cism concerning the benefits of SME (7) and greater prioritiesbesides diabetes management (7). Finally, elements of the deliverystructure of SME, such as the lack of individual tailoring, languagebarriers, and culturally inappropriate programming, can affect theuse of DECs (6,8).

    Due to the scarce Canadian literature, an exploration of patientsutilization of DECswithin a Canadian context is necessary to identifyappropriate strategies to improve thedeliveryof, access toanduseofSME in Canada. This article discusses patients perspectives on theiruse of DECs in the Peel-Halton region in Southern Ontario. Findingsare based on a survey conducted between August and December2008 in the Peel-Halton region of Southern Ontario (excludingBrampton). Study participants completed either a hard copy or aninternet survey posted on the Mississauga Halton Local HealthIntegration Networks website (Survey Monkey). The survey wasadvertised locally in community newspapers, and by DEC staff andaffiliated healthcare professionals.

    Key questions focused on frequency in attending DECs andbarriers to attendance, and were pilot tested on 3 patients for easeand comprehension. Slight modifications were made accordingly.All analyses were conducted using SPSS version 14.0 (IBM, Chicago,IL). Frequency counts and percentages were tabulated for allresponses. Open-ended questions, Other responses, were sortedinto categories and themes by 2 of the authors (VC and BL). Anydiscrepancies were resolved by the first author (EG).


    Utilization patterns of DEPs

    Sample characteristics are presented in Table 1. Among the 221respondents, two-thirds of the participants had used DEC services(66.7%); a similar percentage of participants were aware of the DECin their region (64.5%). Participants had first attended DECs becausethey had recently been diagnosed with diabetes (67.9%), had poorglucose control (9.3%), needed to start insulin treatment (7.9%), hadexperienced a change in diabetes treatment (5.7%) or had an illnessor infection (2.1%). Of these respondents, 38.1% attended regularfollow-up appointments, 32