Diabetes-Related Blindness : Studies of Self-Management, Power, Empowerment and Health
Abstract: Individuals with diabetes and blindness meet problems in daily life that are related to both conditions. The aim was to study diabetes self-management, burden of diabetes, power, sense of coherence (SOC) and health among individuals with diabetes-related blindness. The aim was further to determine psychometric properties of a diabetes empowerment scale (DES) and to use it in the evaluation of an empowerment programme. The participants were 39 blind diabetic and non-diabetic individuals and 21 diabetic individuals with threat of blindness. A convenience sample of 195 diabetic patients completed DES and 9 blind diabetic individuals participated in the empowerment programme. Two reference groups from the Swed-qual population studies were also included. Data were collected by questionnaires, interviews and by scrutinizing medical records. Quantitative data were analyzed with parametric and non-parametric methods and qualitative data with content analysis. Blind diabetic individuals expressed more problems with self-management than did those with threat of blindness. In some health domains, blind diabetic individuals perceived significantly poorer health than did non-diabetic blind individuals. There were though individual differences in how blind individuals perceived their health as well as how burdensome they experienced their self-management. Individuals with power and strong SOC felt less burden and perceived better health when compared to those with weak SOC or non-power. The diabetes empowerment scale showed acceptable validity and reliability and was used, along with qualitative interviews, to evaluate the effect of the empowerment programme. Evaluation of the programme showed that the participants had improved knowledge and awareness of self-management. The programme seems suitable for blind individuals and creates an inspiring learning climate enhancing empowerment. It is concluded that blind individuals have problems in their diabetes self-management and perceive poor health but the experience of power is a factor of importance for health and an empowerment education programme may enhance power.
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