Information about foot care provided to people with diabetes with or without their partners: Impact on recommended foot care behavior. Think about this the next time you’re educating your patient and his/her family!
Background: Many people with diabetes will develop foot ulcers. To reduce risk, it is recommended that the feet are protected against harm and checked daily. Spouses can help people with diabetes care for their feet.
Methods: A randomized parallel arm design compared information sheets given to participants with diabetes and their spouses (dyad group; n = 64) to an information sheet given only to participants with diabetes (individual group; n = 69). The self-reported number of days that the participant with diabetes’ feet were (1) checked for problems and (2) protected against problems occurring (by the person with diabetes and/or the spouse) were summed for the week after receiving the information sheet. ANCOVAs tested the effects of group.
Results: Frequency of foot detection behavior (Participant + Spouse) was significantly higher in the dyad group compared with the individual group. This was not the case for foot protection behavior (Participant + Spouse). Findings revealed greater levels of spousal support (for both protection and detection behavior) in the dyad group compared to the individual group.
Conclusions: Clinical recommendations and advice on foot care delivered both to people with diabetes and their spouses can encourage greater foot care than if delivered to the patient alone.