Health> Vol.6 No.15, August 2014

The Role of Mutual Support Groups for the Control of Diabetes in a Mexican City: Achievements and Limitations from the Patients’ Perspective

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ABSTRACT

Background: Mutual Support Groups (MSG) provides to the patient, the ability to effective self-management behaviors, such as taking prescribed medications, following diet and exercise regimens, self-monitoring, and coping emotionally with the rigors of living with diabetes. Physicians, nurses and health promoters from public primary Health Care Centers (HCC) are responsible for providing follow-up care through MSGs. However, although the MSG program has been carried out, in the last decade Mexico presents the most alarming statistics in the prevalence and complications of Diabetes Mellitus type II (DM-II), suggesting a low impact of MSG in the strategy to support the effective control of the disease. Objetive: The aim of this work was to assess whether knowledge or benefits of effective management to control of DM-II, also to identify strengths and limitations of MSGs, in six different Health Care Centers (HCC), in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. This research provides an overview of patients’ perception, and significant issues that demand to adjust MGSs strategies, with the goal of exceed the expectations of current health statistics. Methods: A qualitative evaluation was carried out, with an ethnographic approach design. The study included 28 diabetic persons, (21 women and 7 men from ruraland urban carecenters). Semi-structured interviews, non-participant observation, and structured content analysis were used. Results: Support groups give patients a way to address emotional issues, and learn about their disease and self-care, although some patients consider participation an inconvenient obligation. Support group users mention barriers such as lack of continuity in support group activities, inconvenient meeting times, and the difficulty of commuting to attend group sessions. They also mention that overworked health care workers find it difficult to provide leadership to keep the group going. These issues have multiple implications for the success of strategies to control the disease. Conclusions: This study shows the need to apply a participatory model to disease support group strategies to reorganize their actions in such a way as to meet the needs and requirements of patients and to ensure their participation and help them control their disease.

Cite this paper

Tejada-Tayabas, L. and Lugo, M. (2014) The Role of Mutual Support Groups for the Control of Diabetes in a Mexican City: Achievements and Limitations from the Patients’ Perspective. Health, 6, 1984-1993. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.615233.

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