TUESDAY, Oct. 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Peer support reduces hospitalizations for diabetes patients with depressive symptoms, according to a study published online Oct. 29 in Diabetes Care.

Andrea L. Cherrington, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues examined the effects of peer support on acute care and hospital utilization in individuals with type 2 diabetes with or without depressive symptoms. The intervention group was randomly assigned to peer support for one year, while control participants received usual care. A total of 168 patients in the intervention group and 187 control participants had follow-up data.

The researchers found that at baseline, half of the sample reported mild depressive symptoms, a quarter reported moderate depressive symptoms, and there were no significant differences in utilization. The incident rate ratio (IRR) for hospitalization for those with mild depressive symptoms in the intervention group was 0.26 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.08 to 0.84) per 10 patient-years compared with controls. For acute care, the IRR was 0.55 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.28 to 1.07) per 10 person-years. For those with moderate depressive symptoms, findings were similar.

“These findings can guide resource allocation for population health management,” write the authors.

The study was supported in part by Eli Lilly and Co.

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