Objectives: This study sought to inform the development of an educational intervention for people with pre-diabetes in the UK by ascertaining individuals' experience of screening and diagnosis, their appraisal of the condition, and experience of health service delivery from diagnosis to 1 year post-diagnosis.
Methods: Qualitative interviews directed by framework methodology. Fifteen people diagnosed with pre-diabetes from the community (Midlands, UK) as part of a screening programme.
Results: Respondents consistently expressed the need for education and support at diagnosis. Dominating all respondents' narratives was the theme of 'uncertainty', which linked to two further themes of seriousness and taking action. These themes were influenced by respondents' prior experience and appraisal of both diabetes and pre-diabetes and their interpretation of health professionals' attitudes and actions towards them.
Conclusions: Patients identified as having pre-diabetes currently emphasise their uncertainties about their diagnosis, its physical consequences and subsequent management. Interventions to enable the increasing numbers of individuals with pre-diabetes to manage their health optimally should evolve to address these uncertainties.
Practice implications: Those delivering services to those at risk of, or diagnosed with, pre-diabetes should be aware of patient needs and tailor care to support and shape perceptions to enhance health-maintaining behaviours.