Current Content
Volume 46 - Number 3
May/June 2020

Perceptions of Diabetes Education Among East African Immigrant Parents
Kristi Klee, Karen Thomas, Deann Atkins, and Kathryn Ness

Purpose: This project was initiated to evaluate clinical nurse concern that the diabetes education may not be meeting the needs of East African families. Clinical nurses noted the learning needs often exceeded the usual three days of training, and many questions remained at the time of discharge. The aim of the project was to explore the family’s perceptions of the training they received and their ability to transfer the learning to home, and to use the information to improve education content.

Methods: East African immigrant families who had completed diabetes education in the previous two years were approached to participate in the project. Families were interviewed using standard, open-ended questions administered with the assistance of an interpreter. Interviews were transcribed, and content was reviewed for themes.

Results: Seven families native to an East African community agreed to be interviewed. Children were aged 3 to 16 years and had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus over the previous two-year period. From the transcripts, eight main themes and 21 subthemes emerged. Themes included parental fear of the diagnosis of diabetes, feeling overwhelmed by the information being presented to them, and difficulty in following the concepts of carbohydrate counting and food measurement. Parents were pleased with the availability of interpreters present for class sessions, but a few felt the interpretation of the content varied between interpreters. Transition to home was challenging for many families.

Conclusion: The project involved a small population of families who provided valuable information about their perceptions of learning to manage their child’s diabetes while in the hospital and the challenges experienced translating the information to their home setting. The information acquired from the interviews will be applied to diabetes education programming, starting with improving understanding of what information is most valuable at the time of initial diagnosis.