Aim. A protocol for a new peer-led self-management programme for community-dwelling older people with diabetes in Shanghai, China.
Background. The increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes poses major public health challenges. Appropriate education programmes could help people with diabetes to achieve self-management and better health outcomes. Providing education programmes to the fast growing number of people with diabetes present a real challenge to Chinese healthcare system, which is strained for personnel and funding shortages. Empirical literature and expert opinions suggest that peer education programmes are promising.
Methods. This study is a non-equivalent control group design (protocol approved in January, 2008). A total of 190 people, with 95 participants in each group, will be recruited from two different, but similar, communities. The programme, based on Social Cognitive Theory, will consist of basic diabetes instruction and social support and self-efficacy enhancing group activities. Basic diabetes instruction sessions will be delivered by health professionals, whereas social support and self-efficacy enhancing group activities will be led by peer leaders. Outcome variables include: self-efficacy, social support, self-management behaviours, depressive status, quality of life and healthcare utilization, which will be measured at baseline, 4 and 12 weeks.
Discussion. This theory-based programme tailored to Chinese patients has potential for improving diabetes self-management and subsequent health outcomes. In addition, the delivery mode, through involvement of peer leaders and existing community networks, is especially promising considering healthcare resource shortage in China.