Using qualitative data to enhance our understanding of the reasons young people decline Structured Diabetes Education programmes: Declining diabetes education

Vivien Coates, Geraldine Horigan, Marian Carey, Mark Davies

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to explore the reasons young people with type 1 diabetes decline structured diabetes education from the perspectives of the young people themselves, their parents and diabetes educators.


structured diabetes education (SDE) programmes that are evidence based and quality assured are a key component to empowering people with diabetes to self‐manage effectively. However, research reveals that uptake of structured education programmes is disappointingly low.


qualitative cross sectional study involving participants from Northern Ireland and England.


Twenty young people with type 1 diabetes (13 to 22 years) who had declined SDE within the past two years, seventeen parents of a young person with type 1 diabetes and sixteen diabetes educators participated in semi‐structured interviews and focus groups.


Three main themes emerged from across all three groups: timing, access and communication issues. In addition, a lack of understanding by the referrer was cited by some young people and their parents. Diabetes educators were sympathetic and understood many of the reasons why SDE was declined. Solutions were proposed to overcome expressed barriers.


Although the expressed reasons for declining might suggest that the young people simply did not prioritise education, this study adds a more nuanced scenario to the debate. The interviews revealed the tensions that exist between people's daily commitments and their need to self‐manage their diabetes. The young people and their parents must be given a much stronger sense of the importance of SDE and ways to accommodate attendance must be sought. Diabetes educators must be able to better promote the importance of SDE.

Relevance to clinical practice

As optimal glycaemic control is so vital for long term health there is an urgent need to understand how to respond more fully to the needs of young people who have type 1 diabetes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Early online date12 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2018



  • Diabetes
  • Education

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