Obstacles which patients with type 2 diabetes meet while adhering to the therapeutic regimen in everyday life: qualitative study

Nevenka Vinter-Repalust, Goranka Petricek, Milica Katić
Croatian Medical Journal 2004, 45 (5): 630-6

AIM: To explore type 2 diabetic patients' attitudes, thoughts, and fears connected with their illness; their expectations of the health care system; and the problems they encountered while adhering to the therapeutic regimen.

METHOD: Explanatory descriptive focus groups were held with 49 type 2 diabetic patients. Patients were recruited by their general/family practitioners and divided into seven focus groups. The group discussions were audio taped and transcribed, then analyzed to find emerging themes and sub-themes. Textual data were explored inductively using content analysis to generate categories and explanations. Hypotheses were derived from the qualitative content analysis.

RESULTS: Eight major themes and explanatory models of patient's perspective emerged out of the data: confronting the diagnosis, illness-related changes, treatment of illness, social context, relation to the health professionals, self-control, knowledge about the illness, and expectations from health professionals. Health beliefs, quality of the doctor-patient relationship, social environment of the family, workplace, health care system, and quality of the information they receive from health professionals and media were all important factors in patient adherence.

CONCLUSIONS: There were many obstacles for bettering patients adhering to the therapeutic regimen, as from the patients' socio-economical aspect, and in the existing health system of Croatia as well. Providing of updated information about the disease, empathy and support of physicians can improve adherence to treatment.

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