564,631 Australians 65 years or older are registered on the National Diabetes Service Scheme (NDSS). This is 50% of all people registered on the scheme. For those older people, living with diabetes can be further complicated by other chronic health conditions and issues associated with the ageing process. Under the NDSS Older People with Diabetes program it was identified that there were few self-help and educational resources available for this group. Currently available resources did not address the issues of living with diabetes in this older age group.
To develop educational resources to assist independently living older people with diabetes to better self-manage their condition.
Two national surveys were developed and conducted to identify what resources existed and what were needed by the target audience. A brief survey was conducted with health professionals and a more detailed telephone survey was conducted with 30 people registered on the NDSS or with their carer. Qualitative and quantitative data from both surveys were analysed to identify key themes and compare responses from the health professional and registrant surveys. To ensure that new resources added value and there was minimal duplication within the NDSS materials, a mapping exercise was carried out to identify potentially relevant NDSS resources.
The key areas identified by health professionals and NDSS registrants covered a broad range of areas related to diabetes management. While there was minimal overlap in the key areas of need for resources, both groups identified healthy eating as the highest priority area. The gap analysis highlighted that existing resources were not appropriately written or designed for older people. The next step is to develop a healthy eating for older people living with diabetes booklet.
There is a clear need to develop a new suite of resources for older people living with diabetes. Further work will be undertaken to tailor appropriate health information and identify strategy for distribution of resources for this group.