Improving foot care for people with diabetes mellitus--a randomized controlled trial of an integrated care approach
Donohoe, M. E.
Fletton, J. A.
Stead, J. W.
Tooke, J. E.
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AIMS: To evaluate a model of integrated diabetic footcare, for identification and clinical management of the high risk diabetic foot, centred on the primary care-based diabetic annual review. METHODS: A pragmatic randomized controlled study was undertaken with matched cluster randomization of practices from 10 towns drawn from mid and east Devon responsible for the care of 1,939 people with diabetes (age > or =18 years). Outcome measures were patients' attitudes regarding the value and importance of footcare, patients' footcare knowledge, healthcare professionals' footcare knowledge and pattern of service utilization. RESULTS: Attitudes towards footcare improved in both intervention and control groups (mean percentage change 3.91, 0.68) with a significant difference in change of 3.18 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.29-5.07) between the groups. Patients' knowledge about diabetic foot problems improved significantly in both groups (mean percentage change 1.09, 1.32) but with no significant difference in change: -0.09 (95% CI -1.81-1.63) between groups. Health professionals' knowledge scores improved in the intervention group (mean percentage change 13.2; P < 0.001). No improvement was seen in the control group (mean percentage change -0.2; P = 0.1) with a significant difference in change of 13.46 (95% CI 8.30-18.62) between groups. Appropriate referrals from intervention practices to the specialized foot clinic rose significantly (P = 0.05) compared with control practices (P = 0.14). CONCLUSIONS: Provision of integrated care arrangements for the diabetic foot has a positive impact on primary care staffs' knowledge and patients' attitudes resulting in an increased number of appropriate referrals to acute specialist services.