Knowledge Confidence and Desire for Further Diabetes-Management Education among Nurses and Personal Support Workers in Long-Term Care
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BACKGROUND: Diabetes care in the long-term care (LTC) setting is complicated by increased prevalence of comorbidities, age-related changes in medication tolerance, frailty and limited resources. Registered nurses (RNs), registered practical nurses (RPNs) and personal support workers (PSWs) are responsible for front-line diabetes care; however, there is limited formal diabetes education in this setting. PURPOSE: The current study aimed to assess the knowledge confidence and desire for additional diabetes education among nurses and PSWs in the LTC setting. METHODS: We studied 89 RNs, RPNs and PSWs (Mage=43.6, 94.3% female) in 2 LTC facilities in the Kitchener-Waterloo area who participated in an online survey assessing knowledge and confidence in 6 key areas of diabetes care (nutrition, insulin, oral medications, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia and sick-day management). Interest in further diabetes education was also explored. RESULTS: Self-rated knowledge and confidence were generally moderate to high, ranging from 46% to 79% being moderately to very knowledgeable and from 61% to 74% being moderately to very confident. Knowledge and confidence was highest for nutrition and management of hypo- and hyperglycemia and lower for sick-day management, oral medications and insulin. There were significant differences between clinicians such that PSWs reported less knowledge and confidence than RNs and RPNs on most parameters. Among the whole sample, 85% wanted education about diabetes, and this rate did not vary by occupation. The most commonly reported areas for additional education concerning diabetes were for management of hypo- and hyperglycemia (30% to 31%) and insulin (31%). CONCLUSION: Overall, the findings indicate moderate levels of self-rated knowledge across diabetes care areas; however, most clinicians feel there is room for more diabetes-care education, particularly regarding insulin and management of hypo- and hyperglycemia.
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