Diabetes, Hypertension Patients Benefit from Monthly Nurse Intervention

Regular monthly contact with a nurse increases the quality of life for patients with diabetes or hypertension, a recent study has found.

Regular monthly contact with a nurse increases the quality of life for patients with diabetes or hypertension, a recent study has found.

The study utilized an intervention program titled Cholesterol, Hypertension and Glucose Education (CHANGE) and was conducted by principal investigator Hayden Bosworth, PhD, at Duke University Medical Center.

The researchers focused on African American patients with diabetes and hypertension, due to the considerable racial disparities in mortality in relation to cardiovascular disease (CVD).

"CVD and diabetes account for over one-third of the mortality difference between African American and white patients," said Bosworth in a press release.

"The increased risk for African Americans is due to the fact that Black patients are twice as likely to have more than three CVD risk factors as white patients,” he continued. “CHANGE was designed with this imbalance in mind, and is aimed at improving CVD outcomes in African American adults with diabetes by addressing modifiable risk factors such as systolic blood pressure and LDL cholesterol."

The study involved 360 high-risk patients with chronic diabetes and hypertension in the Northern Piedmont Community Care system who had visited a primary care doctor as least once in the previous year. The researchers selected the patients to receive either educational materials or a monthly intervention with a nurse for twelve months in addition to the educational materials.

The nurses would then contact the patient’s provider at three, six, and nine months to give updates on the patient’s wellbeing and medication management.

The nurses discussed subjects such as weight, diet, exercise, medications, side effects, memory, depression, stress, patient-provider interactions and social support with the participants.

The researchers found that monthly nurse interaction resulted in positive changes in the patients' adherence to medication regimens, A1C blood sugar levels, blood pressure and weight.

Over the course of the next few months, the CHANGE intervention program will be adopted by hospitals in the North Carolina Area, meaning it could affect over one million patients. "It's what we've always wanted," said Bosworth. "Not just to come in and create good data, but to have that data applied in real clinical settings and make an impact."