Background: Type 1 diabetes treatment requires not only an intensive insulin regimen, but also intensive management, which daily involves participation of the patient. Our aim was to prospectively evaluate the efficacy on patient skills and metabolic control of our routine 5-day in-patient education programme.
Methods: Over one year, each type 1 diabetic patient undertaking the programme for the first time, and able to complete a 2, 6, and 12 month follow-up, participated in the study (n=76). At baseline (T0), 61 patients had intensified insulin treatment and 15 increased from 2 to 3 daily insulin injections during the hospital stay. Using questionnaires and analysis of a glycaemia logbook, we evaluated at T0, T2, T6 and T12 patient skills related to diet, physical exercise, self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), adjustment of insulin doses, and treatment of hypoglycaemia. Metabolic control was evaluated at the same time.
Results: At one year, the following skills improved: Intake of carbohydrates (T0: 59%, T12: 90% of patients, p<0.001) and snacks (p<0.001), appropriate physical exercise (p<0.001), frequency of SMBG (T0: 3.3 +/- 1.5/day, T12: 4.5 +/- 1/day, p<0.001), frequency of post-prandial tests (p<0.001) and adjustment of insulin doses (T0: 18%, T12: 53% of patients, p<0.001). More patients always carried sugar (T0: 61%, T12: 97%, p<0.001) and appropriately treated hypoglycaemia (T0: 48%, T12: 79%, p<0.001). Concurrently, HbA(1c) decreased (T0: 8.6 +/- 1.5%, T12: 7.7 +/- 0.9%, p<0.001), and the frequency of hypoglycaemia was reduced (p<0.001). There was a correlation between the decrease of HbA(1c) and the frequency of SMBG (p<0.001, r2=0,24).
Conclusions: Education led to positive changes in patient skills, which were maintained over one year and were associated with improved metabolic control.