The role of key workers in supporting people with intellectual disability in the self-management of their diabetes: a qualitative New Zealand study
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Place of Publication
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Nursing and Midwifery
The incidence of diabetes in people with an intellectual disability, although unknown, is indicated to be higher than the general population. Given the challenges individuals with intellectual disability may face, this population is often dependent upon key workers to manage their health and well-being. One aim of a wider study on the self-management of diabetes by people with intellectual disability was to explore how key workers supported their self-management. That aim was the focus of this paper. Between 2009 and 2010, 17 staff from five residential intellectual disability services and two supported independent living services within New Zealand, consented to a semi-structured interview. Transcripts of the interviews were analysed using Thomas' General Inductive Approach. Three overarching themes emerged; having knowledge and understanding, being lifestyle police and ensuring future well-being. While knowledge, skills and perspectives varied, all participants were committed to ensuring that the lifestyle of the person concerned was compatible with the management of their diabetes. A range of perspectives existed between the expectations they had of themselves, colleagues and the individual with diabetes. There was an identified need for initial and ongoing education of permanent and casual staff and the people themselves with diabetes in collaboration with health and disability services to build confidence and promote self-management practices. In so doing, the impacts of this long-term condition may be reduced and the health outcomes improved for people with intellectual disability.