Author(s): Tan AS, Yong LS, Wan S, Wong ML
AIM: A patient education programme in the management of diabetes mellitus (DM) was piloted in a government polyclinic. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the education programme in improving knowledge of DM and skills in self-care in order to achieve long term control of DM. METHOD: The study was carried out on an intervention group of 183 diabetic patients who completed the education programme and a control group of 95 diabetic patients who attended the clinic during the period of the study. The patients were assessed on their knowledge of diabetes and their practice for good control of the disease (dietary practice, compliance, home monitoring) through a questionnaire. Long term control was assessed by their glycosylated haemoglobin levels. The education programme comprised individual counselling using a diabetes education guide, talks, videoshows and food displays. RESULTS: The intervention group showed a significant and greater improvement in the knowledge of the disease and self-care and in the dietary practice (taking more unpolished rice/high fibre food, reducing calories intake and cutting down oily/fatty food) when compared to the control group. Compliance with medication and the mean HbA1c levels were also improved in the intervention group. CONCLUSION: In this study the educational intervention was observed to have improved the diabetic patients' knowledge of the disease and self-care and the long term control of the disease. Patient education is thus an important component in the management of diabetes mellitus.