Adapting DESMOND, a structured education programme for the self-management of Type 2 diabetes, for adults with intellectual disabilities

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Background: People with intellectual disability (ID) are living longer and more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes (T2D). It is recognised in many westernised countries that better self-management of T2D can improve the persons’ health and quality of life: one such programme is DESMOND. However, such programmes have not been adapted for adults with ID.

Objective: This poster focuses upon adapting DESMOND. There were two objectives, firstly, to explore whether the psychological and educational learning theories underpinning DESMOND can also be utilised for adults with ID. Secondly, what changes need to be made to the DESMOND programme to make it accessible to adults with an ID?

Methods: This study involved the delivery of two iterations of the DESMOND education programme to 15 adults with ID and T2D, and 7 family/paid carers, over a 7 week period. Evaluation of the two iterations of the DESMOND programme was obtained via video recordings, focus groups with the participants, their carers, the educators and independent observers.

Results: The adaptation process of the DESMOND focused upon extending the delivery time, defining core concepts, using pictorial representation (i.e. visual, photos, pictures, symbols), repetitious learning/interactive sessions, development of skills (self-efficacy), education/support of carers, health action plans/goal setting, and celebration and fun. If the appropriate reasonable adjustments are made and supports developed then the four psychological and educational theories that underpin DESMOND can also be used for this population.

Conclusion: Overall, the findings of this study suggest that DESMOND was successfully modified for adults with mild to moderate ID in promoting diabetes self-management care. Although this population has a greater dependency upon carers to support them to translate the messages of DESMOND into everyday life in order to decrease their Hb1Ac, reduce weight, maintain a healthy diet, exercise more and ensure medication compliance. This is a promising study.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEndocrine Abstracts
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 18 Oct 2016


  • Desmond
  • Adapting
  • diabetes


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