Aim: Structured education is necessary in the management of a chronic disease such as diabetes and should be readily offered to patients in different settings. Our aim was to demonstrate the feasibility and advantages of a group education programme for type 2 diabetic patients in a private setting in France.
Methods: A programme of group education for patients with type 2 diabetes was initiated by a multidisciplinary group of volunteer healthcare providers, including general practitioners, specialists in diabetology and non-medical members. All volunteers received one day of training, and physicians were instructed to organize several sessions of group education for the type 2 diabetic patients who regularly attended their practice. The first 427 patients entering the programme were included in the study, and asked to fill in a questionnaire to assess their knowledge, beliefs and behaviours with regard to diabetes. Their physician filled in a medical form. Six months later, the same questionnaire and form were sent for follow-up information.
Results: At six months versus baseline, patients exhibited small, but consistent, improvements: (i) fasting glucose 142+/-42 mg/dL (P<0.04) vs 146+/-44 mg/dL (P<0.04); (ii) HbA(1c) 7.41+/-1.26% vs 7.57+/-1.33% (P<0.01); and (iii) all of the main parameters of diabetes self-management recorded in the study. The percentage of patients who inspected their feet at least once a week increased from 67 to 77% (P<0.001). Patients improved their knowledge of the disease and developed a more positive attitude towards their diabetes.
Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that it is possible to organize educational sessions for diabetic patients in a private-practice setting. At six months, patients receiving these sessions showed benefits in terms of blood glucose control and other important markers of self-management of their disease.