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Perceptions of employees, on the self-management of their diabetes mellitus, working in selected industries in Cape Town
Copeling, Natalie Joan
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Globally there is an increase of 314 million adults with diabetes in the last 34 years. Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a serious threat to the health of the population. It is therefore imperative to investigate various methods that could address or improve the outcomes of the disease. Regardless of what led to diabetes, it is important to focus on what is currently possible when addressing the disease or state of health of a patient. Part of the role of the Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner is to advise these patients on self-management of their disease, to effect behaviours that are associated with positive management outcomes. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the perceptions and practices of clients, working in selected industries in Cape Town, on their self-management of DM. A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual design was followed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 participants. An interview schedule, field notes and digital recorder were used to conduct the interviews in a private room. Interviews lasting no more than 40 minutes. Non-probability sampling by means of purposive sampling was used. Participants were drawn from the client registers in the occupational health clinics in various industries. Participants signed an informed written consent form after the information sheet was discussed with them. They could withdraw at any stage. Open coding was conducted and four (4) themes, nine (9) categories and two (2) sub-categories emerged from the data collected. Study findings gave insight into the manner in which study participants perceived their behaviour/s and expressed feelings about their self-management practices. Various emotions were experienced by participants relating to the disease and lifestyle adaptations required for self-management thereof. Perceptions of the support provided to the client by their families and the occupational health nurse practitioner were favourable. Regular meetings with the client and the practitioner should provide individualized health education and chronic disease monitoring. Inclusion of Allied health care workers in the team providing information to the client is recommended. Health education sessions to all employees will aid in de-stigmatising the disease. Including measures to address the specific needs of the employee with diabetes within the work-place to better facilitate effective self-management practices.