Successful patient diabetes education in the emergency department

Diabetes Educ. 2015 Jun;41(3):343-50. doi: 10.1177/0145721715577484. Epub 2015 Mar 24.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of diabetes self-management education (DSME) provided in a large urban emergency department (ED) by a certified diabetes educator using a "learner-centered" approach to teaching survival skills. It was hypothesized that an intervention providing learner-centered education in the ED would significantly improve diabetes knowledge and self-management skills.

Methods: Participants were patients who presented to the ED with uncontrolled blood glucose with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). A learner-centered DSME approach was developed. Baseline knowledge and skills were assessed in the ED with a 5-question test and a request to demonstrate meter and insulin injection technique. Education focused on identified gaps in knowledge and skills and incorporated an opportunity for the patient to exercise control in the treatment process. At outpatient follow-up, knowledge retention was assessed with the same 5-question test, and skills again were tested.

Results: Patients with T2DM who were provided learner-centered DSME in the ED demonstrated a significant increase in knowledge-related test scores on all questions at follow-up. Significantly fewer patients required meter and insulin injection instruction postintervention, compared to the baseline.

Conclusion: Study results provide evidence supporting the effectiveness of learner-centered DSME delivered in the ED at imparting critical knowledge and skills to patients with T2DM.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • District of Columbia
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • Teaching*