Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care

Research Implementing the Flinders Model of Self-management Support with Aboriginal People who have Diabetes: Findings from a Pilot Study

Malcolm W. Battersby, Jackie Ah Kit, Colleen Prideaux, Peter W. Harvey, James P. Collins and Peter D. Mills

Australian Journal of Primary Health 14(1) 66 - 74
Published: 2008


A pilot program for Aboriginal people with diabetes on Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, aimed to test the acceptability and impact of using the Flinders model of self-management care planing to improve patient self-management. A community development approach was used to conduct a twelve-month demonstration project. Aboriginal health workers (AHWs) conducted patient-centred, self-management assessment and care planning. Impacts were measured by patient-completed diabetes self-management assessment tool, goal achievement, quality of life and clinical measures at baseline and 12 months. Impact and acceptability were also assessed by semi-structured interviews and focus groups of AHWs. Sixty Aboriginal people with type 2 diabetes stated their main problems as family and social dysfunction, access to services, nutrition and exercise. Problems improved by 12% and goals by 26%, while quality of life scores showed no significant change. Self-management scores improved in five of six domains. Mean HbA1c reduced from 8.74-8.09 and mean blood pressure was unchanged. AHWs found the process acceptable and appropriate for them and their patients. It was concluded that a diabetes self-management program provided by AHWs is acceptable, improves self-management and is seen to be useful by Aboriginal communities. Barriers include lack of preventative health services, social problems and time pressure on staff. Enablers include community concern regarding the prevalence and mortality associated with diabetes.

© La Trobe University 2008

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