Diabetes Self-Management Education for Preventive Care:
By Geepu-Nah Tiepoh
Adelaide Nmuna Tipoteh-Harris, Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, will officially be awarded the degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice from Xavier University at its 180th annual Commencement on Saturday, May 12, 2018.
Professor Harris’ doctoral dissertation, entitled “Diabetes Self-Management Education Provision by an Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Team: A Quality Improvement Project,” was successfully defended last year on November 17th. It is dedicated to her late father, Rev. Samuel Togba Roberts, and mother Victoria Kye Roberts, who encouraged her to obtain “an education that no one can take away and be self-sufficient.”
Adelaide Nmuna is the only girl out of seven (7) brothers, including Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh (one of Liberia’s most prominent economists, civil-society and political leaders). Diabetes is a significant health problem and an increasingly prevalent disease in the United States, affecting 9.3% of the adult population (Centers for Disease and Prevention [CDC], 2014).
The objective of Professor Harris’s dissertation is to educate healthcare providers on Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME), by investigating and identifying the requisite skills and knowledge necessary for people with diabetes to manage their conditions successfully. The focus of the dissertation was on type 2 diabetes which accounts for 90 % to 95% of patients (CDC, 2014).
Her principal argument is that “the shift in diabetes care is to focus teaching on problem-solving (self-management) to engage and empower patients with diabetes to live the best quality of life.” However, “healthcare providers may not always be aware of self-management education (DSME) available to patients.”
In this regard, the dissertation’s key contribution is the application of seven essential self-care behaviors identified by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), known as the AADE7, which is a “tool to assist healthcare providers in providing key topics related to diabetes.” The desired outcome is the care providers’ application of new DSME knowledge and measured by an increase in the percentage of DSME documentation on the diabetes flow sheet.
Results from the project revealed “100% documentation of patient DSME on the flow sheet from no documentation before the project. The use of the AADE7 tool and documentation promote preventive practice care and encourage self-care management among patients with diabetes to avert any long-term complications.
While Dr. Harris’ research was focused on the United States, its main arguments, social determinants of health framework, and operational model are relevant for Liberia’s health policy and program development, particularly concerning raising awareness on diabetes management and prevention. Last year, the Liberia Diabetes Center announced that 3 out of 4 Liberians or 75 percent of the population were either diabetics or pre-diabetics.
To the extent that such statistics reflect the Liberian reality, the type of diabetes self-care behavior education investigated by this dissertation is crucial for controlling the disease; and international research and program partnerships will be key. This dissertation is quite informative, innovative, and stimulating.
About the Author: Dr. Geepu-Nah Tiepoh is a development economist. He heads the Department of Economics and Political Science at Vanier College, Canada. Contact: [email protected]