Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Guidelines Released

The American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Diabetes Educators report seeks to improve self-care and management of the chronic condition.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) recently released the 2017 National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) report. For the first time, the report contains guidelines for both DSME and support, which were previously separate.

These guidelines were updated from the 2014 version, in which education and support were discussed in different documents. The DSME and Support document was published by Diabetes Care and the Diabetes Educator.

DSME is a key factor in preventing complications among the millions of individuals around the world who have been diagnosed with diabetes. It can also prevent disease onset for patients with prediabetes, according to the report.

The standards are designed to outline optimal DSMES and help diabetes educators provide the necessary education and support.

The report focuses on the process of providing patients with the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are necessary for self-care, according to the ADA. The DSMES also includes activities that can help patients with diabetes to start and continue behaviors used to manage their chronic disease.

“The revised Standards reflect a shift in the health care landscape toward an outcomes-based model of care that goes beyond in-person education,” said Leslie Kolb, RN, vice president of Science and Practice at AADE. “The quality of education and support the person with diabetes receives is in direct correlation to how well they are able to self-manage the disease outside of time spent with a diabetes educator or other health care professional. With so many new technology-enabled models of care entering the practice setting, it is important that we set care guidelines so those affected with diabetes benefit the most.”

The 2017 Standards Revision Task Force includes 22 diabetes educators who reviewed more than 180 studies to update the report.

The revised standards outline recommendations for care and education programs regarding their internal structure, team members, and curriculum, according to the ADA.

The guidelines also stress the importance of the programs by assessing the populations they serve and crafting individualized plans.

“In order to reduce the devastating complications of diabetes, individuals with diabetes need to adequately control blood glucose, along with other associated risk factors such as lipid disorders and hypertension,” said William T. Cefalu, MD, chief scientific, medical & mission officer at ADA. “Thus, the person with diabetes is responsible for daily management of this chronic condition, which involves adequate nutrition and regular physical activity, as well as adjusting medication dosages and monitoring blood glucose.”

Another important aspect of the report discusses the merits of offering ongoing patient support and monitoring their progress. The standards also outline recommendations for providers in small or large practices, care coordination programs, population health programs, and technology-enabled models of care, according to the ADA.

“The National Standards for DSMES recognize that the person with diabetes is actually the center of the health care team, since it is estimated that a person with diabetes visits his or her primary care provider, on average, only four times a year,” Dr Cefalu said. “Therefore, it is critical that we support people with diabetes and their caregivers with the appropriate self-management guidance, education and tools to improve patient outcomes and prevent or delay the many serious complications that can accompany diabetes.”