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Introduction of peer support as part of scaling-up integrated care in patients with concomitant diabetes and arterial hypertension at the primary health care level in Slovenia: pilot study protocol

Authors:

Tina Virtič ,

Community Health Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Maribor, SI
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Majda Mori Lukančič,

Community Health Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia, SI
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Matic Mihevc,

Community Health Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, SI
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Črt Zavrnik,

Community Health Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia, SI
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Nataša Stojnić,

Community Health Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia, SI
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Zalika Klemenc Ketiš,

Community Health Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Maribor Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, SI
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Antonija Poplas Susič

Community Health Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, SI
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Abstract

Introduction: The management and control of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and arterial hypertension (AH) is one of the major challenges confronting health systems worldwide and calls for comprehensive patient-centred care. The key to successful management in chronic patients is self-management support. This element of integrated care was found only weakly implemented in Slovenia. Introduction of voluntary peer support represents a promising new method for scaling-up integrated care in patients with concomitant T2D and HT through empowering patients, family members and other informal caregivers in local community. Key functions of peer support are: i) assistance in daily management, ii) social and emotional support, iii) linkage to clinical care, iv) ongoing and sustained support to assist with the lifelong needs of disease self-care management.

Aims: The aim of our pilot study is to implement and evaluate the role of peer support for patients with T2D and AH at the primary health care level in Slovenia.

Methods: This research is a part of an ongoing international project SCUBY (SCale Up diaBetes and hYpertension care). Our pilot study started in May 2021 with recruitment of 30 patients with T2D and/or AH. Participants will be educated in a total of 15 hours of group and individual training by nurses with special skills to become trained peer supporters. Each peer supporter will voluntarily share his knowledge and own experiences among a small group of 10 patients with T2D and/or AH in the local community through structured education. Each participant will attend monthly group meetings facilitated by a trained peer leader for 3 months. Outcomes will be evaluated with questionnaires including sociodemographic and clinical data, knowledge about T2D and AH, Appraisal of Diabetes Scale, Diabetes Empowerment Scale, Theoretical Framework of Acceptability and interviews to provide quantitative and qualitative data. Data collection process will last until May 2022.

Expected Results: We expect the study will provide us knowledge about intervention’s feasibility and acceptance, participants’ assessment regarding quality of life with T2D, perceived support, level of empowerment and satisfaction with the intervention.

 

Conclusions: We expect that pilot study will help to better understand the role of peer support and could serve as a model for optimizing and scaling-up integrated care in patients with T2D and/or AH. Implementation of peer support through enhancing self-management in patients and collaboration with family members and other informal carers in local community could bring educational, psychosocial and behavioural benefits. This will enable patients an active role in successful management and care of their disease which in turn leads to a better quality of life.

Implications for applicability/transferability, sustainability: The results of our complex intervention could contribute to future organisation, implementation and improvements of integrated care in patients with T2D and AH at the primary health care level in Slovenia and other similar settings.
How to Cite: Virtič T, Mori Lukančič M, Mihevc M, Zavrnik Č, Stojnić N, Klemenc Ketiš Z, et al.. Introduction of peer support as part of scaling-up integrated care in patients with concomitant diabetes and arterial hypertension at the primary health care level in Slovenia: pilot study protocol. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(S3):38. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.ICIC22276
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Published on 04 Nov 2022.

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