A randomized trial of regular standardized telephone contact by a diabetes nurse educator in adolescents with poor diabetes control

Division of Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.
Pediatric Diabetes (Impact Factor: 2.57). 03/2005; 6(1):32-40. DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-543X.2005.00091.x
Source: PubMed


The aim of this study was to determine the effect of regular standardized telephone contact by a diabetes nurse educator (DNE) on metabolic control, treatment compliance, and quality of life in adolescents with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes.
A single-blinded 6-month randomized controlled trial was used. Participants included 46 of 49 eligible adolescents (13-17 yr) with type 1 diabetes >1-yr duration and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) >8.5% for the previous 6 months. Subjects were randomly assigned to 6 months of standard diabetes management or standard care plus weekly telephone contact by a DNE. Telephone conversations included review of events in the adolescents' lives and diabetes education, but the primary focus was on blood glucose results and insulin-dose adjustments. HbA1c, compliance with glucose monitoring, quality of life [Diabetes Quality of Life Scale for Youth (DQOLY)], and family functioning [Family Environment Scale (FES)] were assessed at baseline, and at 3 and 6 months. Posthoc, HbA1c levels were assessed 6 months following study completion.
Six months of regular telephone contact by a DNE had no immediate effect on any of the outcome measures. However, posthoc 6 months, HbA1c levels decreased (1% change compared to baseline) in 6/21 of the study group and 0/18 of the control group, while HbA1c increased in 4/21 of study subjects compared to 8/18 of control subjects (p = 0.015).
In contrast to adult studies, regular telephone contact did not lead to immediate improvements in metabolic control in adolescents with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes. However, knowledge and skills gained during the intervention may have had a delayed beneficial effect in these high-risk adolescents.

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