Evaluation of a holistic treatment and teaching programme for patients with Type 1 diabetes who failed to achieve their therapeutic goals under intensified insulin therapy

Diabet Med. 2000 Sep;17(9):635-43. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-5491.2000.00345.x.


Aims: To evaluate a treatment and teaching programme including psychosocial modules for patients with Type 1 diabetes mellitus on intensified insulin therapy who failed to achieve their treatment goals despite participation in standard programmes.

Methods: The 5-day inpatient programme comprises small groups of 4-6 patients, focusing on individual needs and problems. Beyond the teaching lessons (most topics are deliberately chosen by the patients), the programme provides intensive group discussions and offers individual counselling concerning motivational aspects, psychosocial problems and coping strategies. Of the first consecutive 83 participants, 76 were re-examined after 17.5 +/- 5.5 months (range 9-31 months).

Results: At follow-up, HbA1c was not improved compared to baseline (8.0 +/- 1.3% vs. 8.1 +/- 1.5%). However, the incidence of severe hypoglycaemia per patient/year (glucose i.v., glucagon injection) was substantially decreased: 0.62 +/- 1.5 episodes at baseline compared to 0.16 +/- 0.9 at follow-up (P < 0.001). Twenty-six per cent of the patients at baseline, and 4% at re-examination had experienced at least one episode of severe hypoglycaemia during the preceding year (P < 0.001). Sick leave days per patient/year decreased from 17.0 +/- 38.5-7.7 +/- 13.6 days (P < 0.05). Patients improved their perceptions of self-efficacy, their relationship to doctors and felt less externally controlled (P < 0.001). The majority of patients perceived an improved competence regarding diet (80.6%) and adaptation of insulin dosage (82.4%), an improved knowledge (82.2%), and a renewed motivation for the treatment (84.5%). Treatment success was significantly associated with baseline HbA1c, stability of motivation, frequency of blood glucose self-monitoring, control beliefs and change in subsequent outpatient care.

Conclusions: The programme improved glycaemic control mainly as a result of a substantial reduction in the incidence of severe hypoglycaemia. Patients with persistent poor glycaemic control may benefit from structured follow-up care focusing on motivational aspects of self-management and psychosocial support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Counseling
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Holistic Health*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / prevention & control
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Insulin