Many adults with DM have a family supporter (FS) involved in their care. Informal support has been linked with better DM management and outcomes. We evaluated the effect of a patient and FS engagement intervention on FS roles in DM care, and the impact of those roles on HbA1c. Two-hundred and thirty-nine adult Veterans with type 2 DM and a FS were randomized to intervention vs. usual care for 12 months. Intervention dyads received one coaching session, biweekly automated calls to prompt action planning on new DM concerns, coaching calls to prepare for clinic visits, and summaries of primary care visits and DM complication risk. All models were controlled for baseline HbA1c, age, sex, insulin use, and FS cohabitation with patient. Over 12 months, participants in the intervention group were more likely to have increased involvement in several FS roles, including: deciding when to contact healthcare providers about concerns (AOR 2.080, 95% CI 1.137,3.804), remembering to go to appointments (AOR 2.852, 95% CI 1.503, 5.412), take (1.853, 95% CI 1.001, 3.428) and refill (AOR 2.193, 1.196, 4.019) medications, and perform (AOR 2.615, 95% CI 1.405, 4.867) and review (AOR 2.822, 95% CI 1.506, 5.290) home testing. Changes in help navigating the healthcare system, and encouraging healthy eating and exercise were not different by intervention arm. Help remembering to take medications at baseline was associated with 0.457% increase in HbA1c over 12 months (95% CI 0.107, 0.807, p=0.011), and no support roles were significantly associated with HbA1c decrease.
In conclusion, this intervention increased FS involvement in diabetes-specific self-management, with less impact on general lifestyle support. Patients with support for taking medication prior to the intervention had significant subsequent increases in HbA1c. This may indicate family are recognizing which patients have challenges with medication taking, but need more training to effectively help improve subsequent patient outcomes.
M. Zupa: None. M. Heisler: None. J. Piette: None. R.B. Trivedi: None. S.C. Stoll: None. D. Obrosky: None. E.Z. Lovelace: None. M.K. Mor: None. A. Rosland: None.
VA Health Services Research and Development (IIR 14–074-1); Michigan Center for Diabetes Translational Research (5P60-DK09292); Michigan Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (AG-024824); VA Ann Arbor Center for Clinical Management Research; University of Pittsburgh (5T32DK007052-45)