Peer supporters for cardiac patients with diabetes: a randomized controlled trial

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Aims:To determine whether incorporation of patient peer supporters in a Cardiac-Diabetes Self-Management Program (Peer-CDSMP) led to greater improvement in self-efficacy, knowledge and self-management behaviour in the intervention group compared to a control group.Background:Promoting improved self-management for those with diabetes and a cardiac condition is enhanced by raising motivation and providing a model. Peer support from former patients who are able to successfully manage similar conditions could enhance patient motivation to achieve better health outcomes and provide a model of how such management can be achieved. While studies on peer support have demonstrated the potential of peers in promoting self-management, none have examined the impact on patients with two co-morbidities.Methods:A randomized controlled trial was used to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of the Peer-CDSMP from August 2009 to December 2010. Thirty cardiac patients with type 2 diabetes were recruited. The study commenced in an acute hospital, follow-up at participants' homes in Brisbane, Australia.Results:While both the control and intervention groups had improved self-care behaviour, self-efficacy and knowledge, the improvement in knowledge was significantly greater for the intervention group.Conclusions:Significant improvement in knowledge was achieved for the intervention group. Absence of significant improvements in self-efficacy and self-care behaviour represents an inconclusive effect; further studies with larger sample sizes are recommended.

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