Long-term conditions pose major challenges for healthcare systems. Optimizing self-management of people with long-term conditions is an important strategy to improve quality of life, health outcomes, patient experiences in healthcare, and the sustainability of healthcare systems. Much research on self-management focuses on individual competencies, while the social systems of support that facilitate self-management are underexplored. The presented study aims to explore the role of social systems of support for self-management and quality of life, focusing on the social networks of people with diabetes and community organisations that serve them.
The protocol concerns a cross-sectional study in 18 geographic areas in six European countries, involving a total of 1800 individuals with diabetes and 900 representatives of community organisations. In each country, we include a deprived rural area, a deprived urban area, and an affluent urban area. Individuals are recruited through healthcare practices in the targeted areas. A patient questionnaire comprises measures for quality of life, self-management behaviours, social network and social support, as well as individual characteristics. A community organisations' survey maps out interconnections between community and voluntary organisations that support patients with chronic illness and documents the scope of work of the different types of organisations. We first explore the structure of social networks of individuals and of community organisations. Then linkages between these social networks, self-management and quality of life will be examined, taking deprivation and other factors into account.
This study will provide insight into determinants of self-management and quality of life in individuals with diabetes, focusing on the role of social networks and community organisations.
Cites: J Epidemiol Community Health. 2000 Mar;54(3):173-710746110