A randomized trial of regular standardized telephone contact by a diabetes nurse educator in adolescents with poor diabetes control

Pediatr Diabetes. 2005 Mar;6(1):32-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-543X.2005.00091.x.


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of regular standardized telephone contact by a diabetes nurse educator (DNE) on metabolic control, treatment compliance, and quality of life in adolescents with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes.

Methods: A single-blinded 6-month randomized controlled trial was used. Participants included 46 of 49 eligible adolescents (13-17 yr) with type 1 diabetes >1-yr duration and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) >8.5% for the previous 6 months. Subjects were randomly assigned to 6 months of standard diabetes management or standard care plus weekly telephone contact by a DNE. Telephone conversations included review of events in the adolescents' lives and diabetes education, but the primary focus was on blood glucose results and insulin-dose adjustments. HbA1c, compliance with glucose monitoring, quality of life [Diabetes Quality of Life Scale for Youth (DQOLY)], and family functioning [Family Environment Scale (FES)] were assessed at baseline, and at 3 and 6 months. Posthoc, HbA1c levels were assessed 6 months following study completion.

Results: Six months of regular telephone contact by a DNE had no immediate effect on any of the outcome measures. However, posthoc 6 months, HbA1c levels decreased (1% change compared to baseline) in 6/21 of the study group and 0/18 of the control group, while HbA1c increased in 4/21 of study subjects compared to 8/18 of control subjects (p = 0.015).

Conclusions: In contrast to adult studies, regular telephone contact did not lead to immediate improvements in metabolic control in adolescents with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes. However, knowledge and skills gained during the intervention may have had a delayed beneficial effect in these high-risk adolescents.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Communication*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Nurses*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Quality of Life
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Telephone*
  • Time Factors


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin