Aims: Patient education is a very important part of diabetes care. However, until now, little data has been presented about the long-term effectiveness of structured intensive diabetes education programmes (SIDEP) for people with Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Methods: People with Type 2 diabetes (n = 547) hospitalized from December 1999 to December 2000 were randomly assigned to two groups. Two hundred and nineteen patients undertook an inpatient SIDEP and the remaining patients received conventional glycaemic control without intensive education. After discharge, all patients were monitored regularly. Laboratory data were obtained, and adherence to self-care behaviour was determined on a five-point scale by questionnaires completed annually.
Results: Of the patients who completed the SIDEP, 160 (73.1%) were followed up for more than 4 years. The mean HbA(1c) (7.9 +/- 1.2 vs. 8.7 +/- 1.6%; P < 0.05) and the frequency of hospitalization related to diabetes per patient per year (0.3 +/- 0.6 vs. 0.8 +/- 0.9; P < 0.05) was significantly lower in the SIDEP group than in the control group. The SIDEP group adhered more closely to self-care behaviour than the control group over 4 years (P < 0.05). People with Type 2 diabetes mellitus of longer duration and those treated with insulin had poorer HbA(1c) at follow-up.
Conclusions: A well-designed, intensive patient education programme is necessary for people with diabetes. However, regular and sustained reinforcement with encouragement is also required to maintain optimal glycaemic control, especially in insulin-treated patients.