Project LEAP of New Jersey: lower extremity amputation prevention in persons with type 2 diabetes

M Bruckner, M Mangan, S Godin, L Pogach
American Journal of Managed Care 1999, 5 (5): 609-16

OBJECTIVE: To reduce type 2 diabetes-related lower extremity amputations (LEAs) in New Jersey through a statewide training program for primary care providers at healthcare agencies in high-risk areas.

STUDY DESIGN: Project LEAP provided 27 1-day training workshops to 560 healthcare professionals representing 85 organizations. The effect of training was evaluated based on a multiple-choice knowledge test, self-reported practice behaviors, and a medical records audit of practice behaviors, and pre- and postprogram LEA rates.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We evaluated statistically significant differences in pre- and postprogram knowledge scores using Student's t-tests. We also evaluated providers' intentions to change clinical foot-care practices and compared them with actual practices documented in medical records. We used analysis of variance to determine any statistically significant differences in pre- and postprogram LEA rates at various types of institutions. In addition, we assisted facilities in the development of self-education programs containing specific foot-care modules.

RESULTS: Participating providers were: 70.6% nurses, 7.8% physicians, 4.5% podiatrists, 4.2% dietitians, and 12.9% all others. Pre- and postprogram knowledge scores increased by 12% (T = 13.29; P < 0.0001) and were maintained for 9 months (T = 7.58; P < 0.05). Provider intentions to change clinical practice behaviors correlated with self-reported practice changes 9 months postprogram (r = .51; P < 0.001). Medical record audits 1 year before and 9 months after training demonstrated marked improvement in foot-care practices in the following areas: (1) foot-care education given to patients by primary care providers; 2) documentation of peripheral vascular disease; 3) documentation of patient preventive care practices; and 4) referrals to diabetes educators, orthopedists, podiatrists, and diabetologists. Education programs with specific foot-care components increased 10%. The overall incidence of pre- and posttraining LEAs did not change significantly but differed depending on institution type. Hospitals and community healthcare centers were more likely to show postprogram reductions in LEAs than nursing homes and rehabilitation centers.

CONCLUSION: Institutionalization of a LEAP program resulted in improved provider knowledge and certain clinical practice behaviors. There was a trend toward an overall reduction in the number of LEAs at participating institutions.

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