Experience of family function, family involvement, and self-management in adult patients with type 2 diabetes: A thematic analysis

Birgitte Bøcher Bennich, Lene Munch, Dorthe Overgaard, Hanne Konradsen, Filip Krag Knop, Michael Einer Røder, Tina Vilsbøll, Ingrid Egerod

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    To describe the patient's experience of family function and its importance in diabetes‐related self‐management.

    Many patients fail to reach the targeted glycemic level due to low self‐management adherence. Knowledge is needed regarding the impact of family function on diabetes self‐management.

    A qualitative descriptive design.

    A purposive sample of 20 patients with type 2 diabetes. Data were collected in March‐June 2017 via audio‐recorded semi‐structured interviews, field notes and Eco‐maps. Analysed using thematic framework matrix and thematic analysis.

    Four themes were identified: (1) Downplaying disease. The disease was trivialized creating a barrier to family involvement; (2) Second guessing. When diabetes was not discussed, patient and family made their own assumptions; (3) Going it alone. The participants preferred sole disease responsibility to maintain usual family life; (4) No regrets. The participants managed their disease with medications only to maintain family cohesion and ‘the good life’.

    The participants in our study downplayed the consequences of type 2 diabetes and chose to control their disease medically rather than by lifestyle changes. They renounced family involvement to maintain their lifestyle and promote family cohesion.

    During clinical check‐ups, patients should be encouraged to involve their family in lifestyle changes. Healthcare professionals need to recognize illness‐ and treatment beliefs and the impact of family function in disease management.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)621-631
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

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