Living With Diabetes in Appalachia: A Focus Group Study

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Abstract

This article presents an innovative holistic practice application based on evidence from a focus group study on managing diabetes. The purpose of this study addressed the research question: How do persons with type 2 diabetes describe ways of managing the challenge of living with diabetes? A second purpose was to link the findings on ways to manage diabetes to holistic nursing practice through story theory. Nine adults with type 2 diabetes living in rural West Virginia participated in 3 focus groups. Using content analysis, the study findings integrated themes with core qualities, and are as follows: living life as an evolving process is awakening to the present and doing it your way, being on guard is a vigilant ongoing responsibility, attending to bodily experience is awareness of body and facing life stress, and knowing the consequences is awareness of potential problems and taking charge. Merging the study findings with the concepts of story theory led to the development of an innovative practice application for managing diabetes. Managing diabetes in this practice application goes beyond problem-centeredness to a patient-centered approach, offering attention to individual preferences. Since managing diabetes is a major problem in Appalachia, there a need for innovative approaches. This study adds to the body of knowledge on how persons from Appalachia manage diabetes. In addition, it offers a story practice approach for managing diabetes—replacing a problem focus to a more holistic approach to practice leading to more meaningful and fulfilling outcomes.

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