A top session I heard about at AADE yesterday touched on the dicey subject of “Dealing With Patients Who Just Won’t Change.” The session title wasn’t entirely fair, the discussion wasn’t really about patients who are unwilling to change, but, rather, the reality that getting people to adopt new behaviors isn’t just a matter of handing them a one-size-fits-all pamphlet (here! here!). It’s a matter of understanding where the person is coming from and providing more tailored education.
The presenters, Ann Constance, from the Upper Peninsula Diabetes Outreach Network, and Cecilia Sauter, from the University of Michigan Health System, talked a lot about empowerment, which is one of my favorite words when it comes to diabetes management. It suggests action. It serves as a reminder that, as difficult as the disease can be, people with diabetes can take control.
The ultimate aim, they said, was to get people living with diabetes to a point where they say, “Yes, I can do it.”
Of course, the process of empowerment isn’t easy, and much of the session focused on goal-setting and the importance of setting milestones that are patient-driven, specific and measurable. Sauter went one step further, suggesting that patients should be given “experiments” rather than goals, setting up a situation in which they can learn firsthand what works and what doesn’t, rather than get trapped in an all-or-nothing situation in which they succeed — or fail.
I always appreciate hearing about how these concepts are put into action. If you’ve had successful “experiments,” let us know in our comments section below or feel free to leave us a message on Facebook!
All the best,