Perceptions of insulin therapy amongst Asian patients with diabetes in Singapore.

Bukit Batok Polyclinic, National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, 50 Bukit Batok West Avenue 3, Singapore.
Diabetic Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.24). 02/2011; 28(2):206-11. DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2010.03195.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of insulin refusal amongst Singaporean patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus, to compare perceptions regarding insulin therapy use between patients who were willing to use insulin and those who were not and to identify demographic factors that might predict insulin refusal.
A cross-sectional interviewer-administered survey incorporating demographic variables and 17 perceptions regarding insulin use (14 negative and three positive) was conducted among a sample of 265 patients attending a public primary healthcare centre.
Seven of every 10 patients expressed unwillingness to use insulin therapy (70.6%). The greatest differences in perceptions between patients willing to use insulin therapy and those who were not included fear of not being able to inject insulin correctly (47.4 vs. 70.6%), fear of pain (44.9 vs. 65.8%), belief that insulin therapy would make it difficult to fulfil responsibilities at work and home (46.2 vs. 66.8%) and belief that insulin therapy improved diabetes control (82.1 vs. 58.3%). A tertiary level of education was associated with willingness to use insulin (odds ratio 3.3, confidence interval 1.8-6.1), and significant differences in perceptions were present in patients with different educational levels.
Insulin refusal is an important problem amongst our patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Findings of this study suggest that interventions aimed at increasing insulin therapy use should focus on injection-related concerns, perceived lifestyle adaptations and correction of misconceptions. Different interventions may also be required for patients of different educational groups.

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    ABSTRACT: Patients with type 2 diabetes often require insulin as the disease progresses. However, health care professionals frequently encounter challenges when managing patients who require insulin therapy. Understanding how health care professionals perceive the barriers faced by patients on insulin will facilitate care and treatment strategies. This study explores the views of Malaysian health care professionals on the barriers faced by patients using insulin. Semi-structured qualitative interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with health care professionals involved in diabetes care using insulin. Forty-one health care professionals participated in the study, consisting of primary care doctors (n = 20), family medicine specialists (n = 10), government policymakers (n = 5), diabetes educators (n = 3), endocrinologists (n = 2), and one pharmacist. We used a topic guide to facilitate the interviews, which were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a thematic approach. FIVE THEMES WERE IDENTIFIED AS BARRIERS: side effects, patient education, negative perceptions, blood glucose monitoring, and patient adherence to treatment and follow-up. Patients perceive that insulin therapy causes numerous negative side effects. There is a lack of patient education on proper glucose monitoring and how to optimize insulin therapy. Cost of treatment and patient ignorance are highlighted when discussing patient self-monitoring of blood glucose. Finally, health care professionals identified a lack of a follow-up system, especially for patients who do not keep to regular appointments. This study identifies five substantial barriers to optimizing insulin therapy. Health care professionals who successfully identify and address these issues will empower patients to achieve effective self-management. System barriers require government agency in establishing insulin follow-up programs, multidisciplinary diabetes care teams, and subsidies for glucometers and test strips.
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