How people with diabetes integrate self-monitoring of blood glucose into their self-management strategies
Bond, Carol S.
Background The benefit of self-monitoring of blood glucose by patients has been questioned, and UK policy is generally not to support this, although it is identified that there may be unidentified subgroups of people who would benefit from being supported to self-monitor. The purpose of this paper is to explore the self-management approaches of people with diabetes, and how self-testing of blood glucose contributes to self-management strategies. Methods This qualitative study of patients’ experiences drew data from contributors to online discussion boards for people living with diabetes. The principles of qualitative content analysis were used on posts from a sample of four Internet discussion boards. Results Contributors described how they were using self-testing within their self-management strategies. Most saw it as a way of actively maintaining control of their condition. The amount of testing carried varied over time; more testing was done in the early days, when people were still learning how to stay in control of their diabetes. Some people had experienced a lack of support for self-testing from healthcare professionals, or had been expected to change their self-management to fit national policy changes. This was seen as unhelpful, demotivating, stressful, and harmful to the doctor–patient relationship. Conclusions The Internet is a valuable source of information about peoples’ self-management behaviours. Patients who are using, or who wish to use, self-testing as part of their self-management strategy are one of the subgroups for whom self testing is beneficial and who should be supported to do so.