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01.03.2018 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 5/2018

Journal of Community Health 5/2018

The Value of Community Health Workers in Diabetes Management in Low-Income Populations: A Qualitative Study

Journal of Community Health > Ausgabe 5/2018
Julie Silverman, James Krieger, George Sayre, Karin Nelson


To describe community health workers (CHWs) roles in a diabetes self-management intervention. Retrospective qualitative inductive analysis of open text home visit encounter form from Peer Support for Achieving Independence in Diabetes (Peer AID), a randomized controlled trial in which low-income individuals with poorly controlled diabetes received either CHW home visits or usual care. Following visits, CHWs completed encounter forms documenting the health goal of the visit, the self-management strategies discussed and participant concerns. 634 encounter reports were completed for the 145 intervention participants. CHW notes revealed three main obstacles to optimal disease control: gaps in diabetes knowledge and self-management skills; socioeconomic conditions; and the complexity of the healthcare system. CHWs helped participants overcome these obstacles through extensive, hands-on education, connecting participants to community resources, and assistance navigating the medical system. In addition, the CHWs offered uncomplicated accessibility and availability to their clients. CHWs can be a valuable asset for low-income patients with chronic health conditions who may require more support than what can provided in a typical primary care visit.

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