Objective: In this pilot study, we evaluated the impact of providing patients with a literacy-appropriate diabetes education guide accompanied by brief counseling designed for use in primary care.
Methods: We provided the Living with Diabetes guide and brief behavior change counseling to 250 English and Spanish speaking patients with type 2 diabetes. Counseling sessions using collaborative goal setting occurred at baseline and by telephone at 2 and 4 weeks. We measured patients' activation, self-efficacy, diabetes distress, knowledge, and self-care at baseline and 3-month follow-up.
Results: Statistically significant (p<or=0.001) and clinically important (effect sizes=0.29-0.42) improvements were observed in participants' activation, self-efficacy, diabetes-related distress, self-reported behaviors, and knowledge. Improvements were similar across literacy levels. Spanish speakers experienced both greater improvement in diabetes-related distress and less improvement in self-efficacy levels than English speakers.
Conclusion: A diabetes self-management support package combining literacy-appropriate patient education materials with brief counseling suitable for use in primary care resulted in important short-term health-related psychological and behavioral changes across literacy levels.
Practice implications: Coupling literacy-appropriate education materials with brief counseling in primary care settings may be an effective and efficient strategy for imparting skills necessary for diabetes self-management.