Family members often play a significant role in helping diabetes patients with self-care, which needs to be recognised by healthcare professionals in terms of offering support, according to researchers.
A study by the Royal College of Nursing Research Institute, based at Warwick University, explored the perceptions of type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients on self-care and the role of their friends and relatives.
Researchers, led by Lee Gunn, carried out 45 interviews with patients and concluded that family members played an important role in looking out for the person with diabetes.
This included taking action in crises, influencing everyday self-care and in some cases carrying out specific tasks such as giving injections.
The authors said: “The range of family members involved was diverse, including both resident and non-resident family members. People without family support were especially vulnerable in times of crisis.
“It is important that the role of family members in diabetes self-care and crises is appreciated, and that appropriate support is provided to help them carry out this role effectively.”
The findings were presented on Monday at the Royal College of Nursing’s international research conference in London.