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Mentors ‘effective’ in a type 2 diabetes prevention programme

By Editor
2nd June 2019
East of England, Research Type 2 diabetes remission

People with existing type 2 diabetes can be recruited and trained to act as volunteer mentors to support healthcare professionals deliver a 46 month type 2 diabetes prevention programme, a study has concluded.

A total of 104 people with existing type 2 diabetes were appointed, recruited and trained to act as volunteer mentors in the Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study (NDPS) as a means to support healthcare professionals in delivering a lifestyle modification intervention  to a “very large at-risk population”.

Researchers examined the effectiveness of volunteers part delivering elements of such an intervention and explored the feasibility of this model in research published by the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

The Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study  identified 141,973 people at highest risk of type 2 diabetes in the East of England. , Of those, 12, 778 were screened and  1,764 were randomised  into a suite of type 2 diabetes prevention and screen detected type 2 diabetes management trials.

The study tested the feasibility of recruiting  volunteers with type 2 diabetes, who were specifically trained to act as diabetes prevention mentors (DPM) when added to an intervention arm delivered by healthcare professionals trained to support participant lifestyle change.

The researchers said: “Through primary and secondary care database searches we invited 9,951 people with existing type 2 diabetes to become DPM and 427 responded (4.3%). Of these, 356 (83.3%) were interviewed by phone, and of these 131 (36.8%) were interviewed in person. We then appointed 104 of these 131 interviewed applicants (79%) to the role (mean age 62 years, 55% (n=57) male). Three-quarters (n=76, 73%) of the appointed DPM volunteered for at least 6 months, and two-thirds (n=66, 63%) continued volunteering for at least 1 year”.

At study end all DPMs collectively volunteered for an equivalant total of 2,895 months, and made 6,879 telephone motivational support calls to 461 randomised participants.

Summarising the conclusion, they added: “Individuals with existing type 2 diabetes can be recruited, trained and most importantly retained to, in part, deliver a diabetes prevention lifestyle intervention alongside healthcare professionals.  This is an attractive model in terms of limiting salary costs and expanding the prevention workforce with individuals  who usually share a common life experience, and people with type 2 diabetes are an obvious choice for this role.”

To access the study, click here.

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