Importance of effective collaboration between health professionals for the facilitation of optimal community diabetes care
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Copyright © 2011 CSIRO
Diabetes places a significant burden on the individuals concerned, their families and society as a whole. The debilitating sequelae of diabetes can be limited or prevented altogether through strict glycaemic control. Despite the seemingly uncomplicated nature of the disorder, effective management can be elusive, as the impact of having to deal with diabetes on a daily basis can be profound and appropriate professional support is not always readily available. As the roles of general practitioners (GPs) and allied health professionals have evolved, a major issue now facing all is that of developing and maintaining effective collaborative relationships for the facilitation of optimal community diabetes care. Using a simple survey methodology, the present exploratory study investigated the referral patterns of GPs to diabetic educators (DEs) working for a community health service in an Australian town, and reasons for referral and non-referral in order to identify factors that contribute to a sound and sustainable collaborative relationship.The results provide some evidence that GPs and DEs in this town do work collaboratively towards achieving client-centred goals and highlight the need to inform GPs who are new to communities, such as this one, of the available DE services. Most importantly, the study identified that there are many opportunities to strengthen collaboration so as to facilitate optimal community diabetes care. This information is valuable, because there is limited empirical evidence either nationally or internationally about the process of collaboration between health professionals in the management of chronic diseases, such as diabetes.
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