Objective: To achieve a better understanding of the perspectives and needs of Indigenous people with diabetes in the Torres Strait and to identify ways to promote successful self-management of diabetes.
Design: Descriptive study collecting qualitative data in focus groups and in-depth interviews. Analysis of three key areas of diabetes self-care, namely attending appointments at the clinic, monitoring blood glucose levels and taking medication and foot-care.
Setting: Informal settings in remote communities of the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area of Far North Queensland.
Subjects: Sixty-seven Torres Strait Islanders (26 men and 41 women) with diabetes from eight Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area communities.
Main outcome measures: A better understanding of the views, enabling factors and barriers that people experience when managing their diabetes in remote Torres Strait communities.
Results: Participants who expressed satisfaction with clinical-initiated sessions when called highlighted positive relationships and encouraging feedback from doctors. People's attitudes and practices related to oral and injectable treatments varied widely, possibly linked to levels of understanding. Widespread knowledge of foot-care and fear of amputation in an environment highly conducive to foot sores and infection was evident. Generally, participants wanted more education and personal support in all areas of diabetes care. Service providers in health and other sectors need to place more emphasis on supporting self-management of diabetes within the family and community environment.