Empowerment and self-management


Coping with diabetes and self-management: a teenage perspective

Diagnosed when he was 12 years old, Adam Elliot has had type 1 diabetes for nearly three years. He is currently a student at All Saints Catholic High School in Kanata, Ontario, Canada. In this article, he shares his experiences of type 1 diabetes and explains how self-management has made his life with the condition not just bearable but as he sees it ‘a real journey that I believe is providing me  with a lot of useful life lessons’.

A behavioural therapy approach to self-management: the Flinders Program

Chronic diseases, including diabetes, represent the most prevalent problem in healthcare today. They are the most common cause of disability and consume the largest part of health expenditures internationally. Most diabetes care is provided by people with diabetes and their family or supporters. Therefore, understanding how to enhance diabetes self-management is of primary importance in addressing this growing burden. The effective self-management of type 2 diabetes is closely linked to environmental factors and a person’s lifestyle.

Engaging in a shared vision for self-management: the WISE approach

In recent years, many initiatives from many sources have been aimed at improving people’s ability to manage a chronic medical condition – ranging from top-down policy programmes to small-scale projects developed by individuals. Work related to the care of people with diabetes has generally been at the forefront of this type of research. Policy-related programmes tend to focus on the most effective use of health services, and initiatives coming from individuals are more likely to be about sharing experiences of an effective treatment.

Art beyond therapy: when patients and healthcare providers share the limelight

Healthcare implies sound knowledge in the field of biomedicine, underpinned by evidence-based medicine. There is another fundamental dimension: the healthcare provider-patient relationship. Balint studied the gap between the professional identity of doctors and the reality of patients – an ocean of unspoken messages separates their worlds. The further dimension is that of therapeutic education, the objective of which is to help people to become more autonomous. In these three aspects of healthcare, the relationship between patients and doctors is never even.

Art as a development process for people with a chronic condition

There are various ways to improve people’s capacity to cope with the psychological burden of a chronic condition. A recent programme based on self-expression through painting demonstrated a way of discovering a person’s potential for development and self-efficacy. This report describes the structure and process of a painting workshop programme for people affected by a chronic condition. Attending one or several painting workshops, the participants used the art material to express and give shape to their inner suffering associated with their condition.

The Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative - tackling type 2 diabetes in Canada

In 2005, the Government of Canada provided a renewed investment of 190 million CAD over five years to maintain and enhance the Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative. The main goal of the Initiative is to reduce type 2 diabetes and its complications through a range of culturally relevant health promotion and prevention services, delivered by trained health service providers and diabetes workers. Supported by Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative funding, Aboriginal communities across Canada are working to prevent and  manage type 2 diabetes. Amy Bell reports.

Agents for change: champions in the fight against diabetes in South Africa

The potential threat from type 2 diabetes in  South Africa remains dangerously underestimated and its current prevalence widely unrecognized. Yet the problem is growing at an alarming rate. A series of factors that are particular to the region represent enormous obstacles to an effective response by people with the condition, healthcare providers and wider society. In this article, Noy Pullen identifies some of the key socio-economic, environmental and educational issues affecting rural South Africa.

The Sugarman - a simple interactive model for diabetes education

Registered nurse and diabetes educator, Michael Porter, first presented the Sugarman project at a hospital in South Australia and has since used it at events around the country. His aim was to tackle the serious and growing problem of diabetes in the Indigenous population by devising a way to provide diabetes education to adults and children in an enjoyable and interactive way. The Sugarman takes the form of an outline of a body on a large piece of canvas. Participants in the Sugarman sessions carry out activities to learn about glucose metabolism and aspects of the management of diabetes.

The importance of a proactive response to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes

People  with  diabetes  face  a  range  of challenges. Having the condition affects all areas of life; a number of psychological and emotional factors are involved. Recently, one of the authors of this article, Robin Wynyard, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The shock of being diagnosed provoked in him and his partner, Sue Shea, negative feelings that included fear, anxiety and uncertainty – a common emotional response which often goes unreported in the related literature.

'Stomp the Fat' - an effective national weight-reduction campaign

Despite a fall in diabetes prevalence from around 35% in 1975 to 16% in 2004, obesity and non-communicable diseases, including type 2 diabetes, remain the primary threat to health and well-being confronting Nauru in the 21st century. Nauru has few natural resources and, with a population of only 10,000, does not have the critical mass to support manufacturing. Nor, with a tiny land mass of 21 km² and unfavourable topography and soil conditions, can it support farming.