Patient Education and Empowerment
The purpose of patient education and empowerment in DR is to encourage prevention, screening, treatment, and management of their condition. Many people living with diabetes are unaware that they are at risk of losing their vision. Health education in DR involves communication of information to improve awareness of the risks and recommended behaviours:
- Management of diabetes by maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical activity, regulating blood pressure, and quitting smoking;
- Vision screening every 1-2 years after diabetes diagnosis;
- Timely access and adherence to recommended treatment.
However, having knowledge is often not enough to make someone change their behaviour. People living with diabetes may face personal barriers such as lacking the skills, confidence, motivation to take actions that aid in preventing diabetes-related vision loss.
People who are involved in the care of those living with diabetes should also consider the importance of patient empowerment: “a process through which people gain greater control over decisions and actions affecting their health.” This concept relates to psychosocial factors like confidence, outcome expectations, and social support.
Watch this video to learn about strategies for education and empowerment to prevent vision loss.