Background and Aims
People with type 2 diabetes face many barriers to effective self-management(1). Time allocated for professional appointments is limited and tailoring information to meet individual needs is difficult(2). There is a need for sustained, effective and less resource intensive support. Connect2 is a new telephone peer support service which aims to alleviate anxiety relating to diagnosis and management by providing information on diabetes services and evidence-based consumer resources, instilling confidence to maintain/establish appropriate medical management and motivating lifestyle changes.
Peer support volunteers were recruited based on their ability to effectively manage type 2 diabetes and their emotional development following diagnosis. Training was conducted via webinars and included information on type 2 diabetes management, telephone communication skills and key motivational interviewing techniques. Individual role plays were conducted to assess ability to apply training material and understand service boundaries. Following training, peer support volunteers provided up to 12 phone calls over a three month period to at least one participant who requested support, tailoring support and information to the individual’s needs. Evaluation was conducted through call records and telephone interviews with volunteers’ pre and post training and at completion. Participant satisfaction was evaluated using pre and post telephone surveys.
Outcomes and Implications
Preliminary results from participants indicate a reduction in emotional isolation, increased knowledge and confidence levels, improved interaction with health professionals and positive lifestyle changes for effective self-management. While Connect2 was designed to assist the newly diagnosed, participants wanting to re-initiate themselves with effective self-management practices also benefited from this service. Additionally, peer support volunteers indicated the service reinforced their self-management behaviours. Connect2 is an effective method of peer support which increases participants’ confidence and self-efficacy, enabling improved self-management of type 2 diabetes.