Knowledgeable patients – are we ready for them? World Diabetes Day 2022

The prevalence of diabetes is increasing among people of all age groups in the WHO European Region and already affects 10-12% of the population in some member states. In a typical year, people with diabetes may only see a health care provider for a few hours. In the remaining thousands of hours, they must take care of themselves. More and more countries are using patient education in medicine (TPE) to equip diabetes patients with the skills and knowledge they need to do so.

On average, people with diabetes think about their disease every 20 minutes, every day of their lives. It’s no surprise, then, that people with diabetes have a growing need to learn more about their condition, how to manage it, how to deal with the technology they rely on, and how to best use health care services. There are many treatments and interventions for diabetes management, but they are not effective if people with diabetes are able to manage their condition on a daily basis with the support of their caregivers and/or family.

In response to this growing need for new and better self-care options, health care providers are developing TPE programs, empowering patients and encouraging patient-centered care, involving people with diabetes in this process and uses learning from his life experience.

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TPE can not only empower patients but also save time and money for doctors. “Time is always tight for doctors and nurses,” said Professor Dr. Karin Lange, head of the department of clinical psychology at Hanover Medical School, which has been included in the medical education program. -medicine for the last 15 years. “But when you educate patients well, it takes less time because there are fewer complications, less morbidity, and even less mortality.”

Role of the medical community in self-care

It has always been believed that the participation of diabetic patients in treatment is necessary, but health care providers sometimes take different approaches, lack the necessary skills to deliver a comprehensive and serious program, or consider the TPE as an optional supplement to complement the treatment – but this is changing.

“TPE is a powerful concept,” said Professor Mehmet Ungan, Professor of Family Medicine in Turkey and former president of the World Association of Family Physicians. “I don’t know if the medical community is ready to face that power. I don’t know if I’m sick either. This can be a challenge. It must be based on the daily practice of the doctor, how you treat each patient, depending on the staff you have, and what you and the patient expect. We hope that TPE can become the center of medical education everywhere; something that will be repeated throughout the health worker’s career and not just treated as a one-off exercise. It’s too important.”

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TPE training for patients and professionals

Health professionals can be trained in TPE at different levels, not only in medical schools but also in refresher courses, basic training for new staff, and in lifelong learning. Countries, regions or organizations wishing to rapidly expand access to TPE training programs can use a ‘train the trainer’ model of cascade learning. What health professionals learn – from how the words they use can affect a patient to how patients can access larger health services – can help diabetes patients to manage their condition, not only to remove fear and anxiety but to reduce the complications of their condition. .

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TPE courses for patients can take different forms to suit different needs. They can start with a mandatory 14-day course to train parents of newborns with diabetes; to weekly evening classes for 6 weeks, where patients discuss and decide on goals and initiatives to improve their lives; in a program that includes monthly lectures by diabetes specialists at local self-help groups.

WHO for Health Education and Literacy

WHO/Europe is currently developing Guidelines for Health Patient Education, to be published in early 2023. It will update the WHO Health Education Working Paper /Europe in 1998 and will reflect major changes in the field’s evidence base and clinical practice.

This year, for the first time, Member States set global targets for diabetes coverage and the WHO Global Diabetes Compact commits to ‘health education and literacy’ as a Compact path in line with the theme of World Diabetes Day 2022. ‘opportunities in diabetes education’.

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