Training programme for peer advisors in diabetes: are they the expert patients in diabetes?



The primary objective was to train people with diabetes and carers to be effective trainers, committee members, campaigners and peer advisors. The secondary objective was to assess the impact of the course on the individuals.

Sixty-six volunteers were enrolled in the programmes, each of which comprised 18 separate weekly sessions, each lasting 90 minutes. Questionnaires pertaining to knowledge, well-being, Michigan Care Profile, and behaviour were carried out at the start, and three and 12 months post course. Each volunteer underwent a 40-minute oral assessment at the end.

Fifty-one (77%) people, of whom 44 were individuals with diabetes, completed the courses; 50 (98%) were successful in the final assessment. Significant improvement in knowledge was demonstrated (72.5% vs 82.2%, p<0.001). Twenty-one (41%) lectured at subsequent courses, eight (16%) lectured at national conferences, and all campaigned within the community. They were represented in all major committees. The number of participants with diabetes who joined Diabetes UK increased from 20 (45%) to 31 (70%).

The effect on the individuals (values are at the start, three months and one year of the courses) showed significant improvements in their understanding (68.6 vs 84, p<0.001, and 87.8, p<0.001), self-care ability (72.4 vs 73.3, p=0.350, and 77.8, p=0.044), self-care adherence (73.9 vs 76.9, p=0.108, and 83, p<0.001), and importance of self-care (90 vs 95.5, p=0.028, and 97.8, p=0.007), and reduction in negative attitude (41.9 vs 37.3, p=0.023, and 34.0, p=0.017). No significant changes were noted in the other parameters although they showed continuing improvements.

In conclusion, despite the wide range in the backgrounds of the individuals, the programmes were understandable and effective. They fulfilled the primary objectives, and have enhanced the voice and choice of people with diabetes within the health service. This paper describes the impact of the first three courses. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.