Diabetes Intervention Program for Older Adults – ON, QC, PEI collaboration

This project is a scale up and spread project that originated in Ontario and that investigates the logistics of linking community organizations such as the YMCA to health service delivery. A diabetes education program that involves, education, diet and fitness will be delivered to seniors 65 years of age and older with at least one other chronic condition in addition to diabetes.

 Living with diabetes and other chronic (ongoing) conditions is common in older adults. These individuals have poorer health and higher use of health services compared to older adults with diabetes alone. Programs that help older adults self-manage their diabetes and other health conditions benefit both individuals and the healthcare system. The McMaster University Aging, Community and Health Research Unit developed and tested a new patient centered, community-based program to improve the delivery and outcomes of care for older adults with diabetes and other chronic conditions. This 6-month program was developed in partnership with patients, caregivers, primary and community care providers and researchers. The program is delivered by nurses, dietitians and community providers. It involves in-home visits by nurses and dietitians, monthly group wellness sessions at community centers, and monthly team meetings. Wellness sessions include exercise, education, shared meals, and social support. Caregivers are invited to be active participants along with patients. The program was successfully implemented in Ontario and Alberta. Participants who received the program had better quality of life, self-management, and mental health at no additional cost compared to those receiving usual care. To determine how the program can best help people, more testing is needed with different communities and groups of people. We are partnering with primary teams (e.g., family doctors’ offices) in three provinces to adapt and test the program in a variety of settings and three provinces (PEI, QC and ON). We will assess how to best put this program into practice and measure outcomes important to patients and caregivers so study results are relevant to them. Study findings will guide the development of a plan for expanding the program to reach and benefit more older adults with diabetes and other chronic health conditions. Patients and caregivers will be involved as key partners in all aspects of the research.