WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Structured support from family and friends may boost patient activation and healthy eating among people with diabetes, according to a study published online Nov. 14 in JAMA Network Open.

Ann-Marie Rosland, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues assessed whether the Caring Others Increasing Engagement in Patient Aligned Care Teams (CO-IMPACT) intervention improves patient activation, diabetes management, and outcomes compared to standard care. The analysis included 239 patient-supporter dyads who were followed for 12 to 15 months (November 2016 to May 2018).

The researchers found that patients randomly assigned to CO-IMPACT had greater 12-month improvements in Patient Activation Measure-13 scores. However, there was no significant improvement in U.K. Prospective Diabetes Study five-year, diabetes-specific cardiac event risk scores. Greater 12-month improvements in healthy eating, diabetes self-efficacy, and satisfaction with health system support for the involvement of supporters were seen for patients in the CO-IMPACT arm. Improvements in hemoglobin A1c levels and other measures were similar between the groups.

“Our findings from this randomized clinical trial indicate that increasing family supporters’ engagement in the care of adults with diabetes is feasible and may improve key behavioral determinants,” the authors write. “Future studies should investigate whether interacting more directly with patients’ supporters and targeting patients with higher needs for support would help translate the observed benefits into physiological improvements.”

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