Impact of self-care programmes in type 2 diabetes mellitus population in primary health care: Systematic review and meta-analysis

J Clin Nurs. 2020 May;29(9-10):1457-1476. doi: 10.1111/jocn.15186. Epub 2020 Jan 30.


Aims and objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of self-care programmes in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) population in primary health care.

Background: The impact of educational interventions on T2DM has been evaluated in various contexts, but there is uncertainty about their impact in that of primary care.

Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods: A search was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, WOS and Cochrane databases for randomised controlled trials carried out in the period January 2005-December 2017, including studies with at least one face-to-face educational interventions. The quality of the evidence for the primary outcome was evaluated using the GRADE System. A meta-analysis was used to determine the effect achieved although only the results classified as critical or important were taken into consideration. Checklist of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses has been followed. PROSPERO registration Number: CRD42016038833.

Results: In total, 21 papers (20 studies) were analysed, representing a population of 12,018 persons with T2DM. For the primary outcome, HbA1 c, the overall reduction obtained was -0.29%, decreasing the effect in long-term follow-up. The quality of the evidence was low/very low due to very serious risk of bias, inconsistency and indirectness of results. Better results were obtained for individual randomised trials versus cluster designs and in those programmes in which nurses leaded the interventions. The findings for other cardiovascular risk factors were inconsistent.

Conclusions: Educational interventions in primary care addressing T2DM could be effective for metabolic control, but the low quality of the evidence and the lack of measurement of critical results generates uncertainty and highlights the need for high-quality trials.

Relevance to clinical practice: Most of self-care programmes for T2DM in primary care are focused on metabolic control, while other cardiovascular profile variables with greater impact on mortality or patient-reported outcomes are less intensely addressed.

Keywords: Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus; diabetes education; meta-analysis; primary health care; self-care.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Program Evaluation
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research Design / standards
  • Self Care / standards*