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Diabetes QIP Patient Education Resources Toolkit

Published June 2022

According to a draft technical brief from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) a review of evidence on strategies to engage patients and families in managing a chronic condition found the most evidence for self-management strategies.

A team of Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists working on the Diabetes Quality Improvement Project (QIP) have crafted a selected list of “must have” diabetes self-management education resources for clinicians to share with their patients. The materials are tailored to the overall goals of the project, frequently asked questions of patients with diabetes, and materials with clear, low literacy messages and content.

 

While numerous sources of diabetes education exist, a concise list of reputable, easy to understand evidence-based selections are provided from expert groups and institutions. The intent is to share these handouts with patients to engage them in meaningful dialogue and education around the various topics included. Lifestyle changes can significantly lower A1C! Additionally, informed patients can live more safely with diabetes.

The patient education materials have been organized into clinical focus areas so that education can be customized to each patient. To avoid overwhelming patients with too much information, it is recommended that primary care team members give patients the fact sheets as they are needed, limiting information to just the key concepts or behaviors needed for improved self-management. One approach is to bundle the resources by key concepts of self-management and use them for focused visits. For example, a patient being started on insulin would benefit from the Medication Bundle pertaining to insulin management. An index of patient education resources organized by topic is available at the end of this document.

Bundles of Patient Education Resources

 

The Diabetes Survival Bundle is focused on the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) 7 Self-Care BehaviorsTM, which are aimed at engaging patients to eat healthy, be active, monitor their sugars, take their medications, problem solve, and reduce their risk for complications. This bundle may be particularly useful for those being seen after a hospital discharge, or for an individual who is being seen after being out of care. Consider including the following patient education handouts.

The Medication Bundle is separated for patients on oral medications and patients on insulin.

For patients on oral medication, consider including the following patient education handouts.

Learning About Diabetes Medications
Testing Your Blood Sugar
Blood Glucose Log
Tracking Blood Glucose
Symptoms and Treatment of Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia

For patients on insulin, consider including the following patient education handouts.

Learning About Diabetes Medications
Giving Yourself Insulin
Container Options for Used Sharps
Testing Your Blood Sugar
Blood Glucose Log
Tracking Blood Glucose
Symptoms and Treatment of Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia
Diabetes Alert Card 

The Blood Glucose Monitoring Bundle is for an individual being introduced to blood glucose monitoring or for one needing to learn how lifestyle changes and medication adherence impact their diabetes. Consider including the following patient education handouts.

Index of Patient Education Resources by Topic

 

  • What Is Diabetes?

    This booklet covers topics at a very high level, and includes defining the different types of diabetes, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, monitoring blood glucose, medications, and setting glucose goals. It is written for low literacy patients and uses caricatures to illustrate the topics. It is available in Spanish. It is available from Learning About Diabetes.

  • Oral and Injectable Medications for Diabetes
    This handout provides information on how different diabetes medications work and how best to take them. It includes oral and injectable medications (GLP-1 agonists and insulin), including insulin types with onset, peak, and duration times. It is available from Scripps.

  • Giving Yourself Insulin Using Syringe or Pen
    This handout is written for low literacy patients and uses caricatures to illustrate the steps to give injections with syringe or pen. It is available from Scripps.

  • Container Options for Used Sharps
    This handout defines a “sharp,” includes pictures of appropriate containers to dispose of needles and lancets, and instruction on disposal. It is specific to Ohio from Safe Needle Disposal.
  • Testing Your Blood Sugar
    This handout explains reasons for testing. It also gives suggestions for checking sugars for non-insulin dependent people and recommendations for insulin dependent people with diabetes (paired testing and testing before meals and bedtime). In addition, it includes general directions with pictures of how to check blood sugar using a meter. It is available in multiple languages from Scripps.

  • Blood Glucose Log
    This is a two-week log, which includes before and after meal-time slots, a medication log, and notes section. It is available from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

  • What Do My Numbers Mean?
    This handout provides information on normal blood glucose responses to meals, ADA blood glucose targets for most nonpregnant adults, and definition of HbA1C with estimated average glucose levels for the different HbA1C levels. It is available in multiple languages from Scripps.
  • Symptoms and Treatment of Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia
    These handouts are written for low literacy patients, using caricatures to depict the symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. The handouts include recommended actions. They are available in multiple languages from Scripps.

  • Diabetes Alert Card
    This foldable wallet card, which includes symptoms of hypoglycemia, recommended actions to treat, and allows for the patient to enter their emergency contact information. It is available from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
  • Plan Your Portions
    This handout of a placemat includes pictures of food options to go in each macronutrient portion of the plate. It is available from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

  • Nutrition Facts Label
    This easy-to-understand handout includes a picture of the new food label with brief comments on what to eat less of and how to read carbohydrates on a label. It is available from Learning About Diabetes.

  • What Can I Eat?
    This simple, one-page handout lists carb-containing foods and low carb foods and includes pictures. The food label is shown, and it includes a 1-day sample meal plan. It is available from Learning About Diabetes.
  • Tips for Being Active With Diabetes
    This handout explains how to get started with activity and recommended duration. It gives examples of physical activities and discusses safety considerations for exercising with diabetes. It is available from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • What Are Diabetes Complications?
    This one-page handout includes pictures and brief comments on long term complications of diabetes. It is available from the National Diabetes Education Initiative.

  • Foot Care Instructions
    This two-page handout includes large pictures and simple text recommending actions to improve foot care. It is available from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • What To Do if You Are Sick
    This handout is simple and easy to read. It instructs the patient on what is appropriate to eat and drink when they are ill. It also indicates symptoms which may be suggestive of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and when to seek care. It is available in multiple languages from Scripps.
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