Patient explanations for non-attendance at structured diabetes education sessions for newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes: a qualitative study

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Abstract

Aim

To determine the reasons for non-attendance at structured education sessions among people with a recent diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.

Methods

This was a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews to elicit the main themes explaining non-attendance. A thematic framework method was applied to analyse the data. People who had not attended structured education were recruited from a population cohort of newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes from South London (the South London Diabetes cohort study), UK.

Results

A sample of 30 people was interviewed. Three main themes emerged from the qualitative data explaining non-attendance at structured education: (1) lack of information/perceived benefit of the programme (e.g. not being informed about the course by their health professional); (2) unmet personal preferences (e.g. parking, timing); and (3) shame and stigma of diabetes (e.g. not wishing to tell others of diabetes diagnosis).

Conclusion

This is the first time that reasons for non-attendance have been explored in depth among people who have newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes. Novel reasons identified included non-attendance because of shame and stigma of diabetes. To improve uptake at structured education we need to: consider how health professionals in primary care communicate with their patients on the subject of structured diabetes education; offer alternatives to the traditional group education format; and understand that diabetes is associated with health-related stigma, which may affect participation.

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