October 20, 2010
Investigators at HSR&D's Center for Clinical Management Research in Ann Arbor, MI recently published findings about the value of peer support in managing blood sugar levels in Veterans with diabetes in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
To test whether peer support would be an effective alternative to one-to-one nurse care management, investigators designed and piloted a novel intervention that supplements periodic nurse-led group sessions with telephone-based peer support between pairs of Veterans with diabetes. Peer support allows patients to share experiences and receive reinforcement that might be unavailable from time-pressed clinicians. Investigators compared the effectiveness of the peer-support program with nurse care management alone in improving blood sugar control for Veterans identified as having had poor blood sugar control prior to the study.
Results showed that Veterans who participated in the peer-support program achieved better blood sugar control than Veterans who participated in the nurse-care management group. Veterans in the peer-support program also had more insulin starts and reported greater increases in diabetes-related social support.
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