HumanInsight Improving diabetes care of community-dwelling underserved older adults
J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2022 Sep 7. doi: 10.1097/JXX.0000000000000773. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Diabetes care among rural underserved older adults is negatively affected by social determinants of health (SDOH). Although there is an increased awareness of this problem, evidence-based clinical and community interventions are not widely integrated. This project implemented telemedicine and community health worker (CHW) interventions to improve diabetes management and outcomes.
LOCAL PROBLEM: One in five older adults with diabetes mellitus (DM) at a Federally Qualified Health Center in southwest Ohio has uncontrolled disease, largely due to their limited resources and ability to participate in routine clinical management.
METHODS: This quality improvement project used a pre-post intervention design. Participants were adults aged ≥65 years with uncontrolled DM type 1 or 2. The outcomes of interest included A1C values, diabetes self-care activities, diabetes knowledge, and patient and health care provider (HCP) satisfaction levels.
INTERVENTIONS: The project involved biweekly CHW home visits and diabetes self-management education for 12 weeks. The CHWs, with supervision from a nurse practitioner, conducted SDOH assessments and basic education, and facilitated same-day telemedicine appointments with the HCP to reinforce disease management.
RESULTS: The A1C levels and diabetes knowledge of older adults significantly improved after three months. However, there were no statistically significant changes in diabetes self-care activities. The patients and HCPs were highly satisfied with the project interventions.
CONCLUSIONS: This project delivered patient-centered and equitable diabetes care services that were previously unavailable to underserved older patients, while demonstrably improving outcomes. Future research should evaluate the cost-effectiveness, long-term impact, and sustainability of the project in other primary care settings.
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