New ADA Recommendations on language for diabetes care and education 

New ADA Recommendations on language for diabetes care and education 

Dr KK Aggarwal

The importance of communication can never be emphasized enough, especially for a doctor. Communication, rather lack of it, or miscommunication is often the root cause of disputes, including those involving doctors and patients.

Avoid the 3 Cs of violent communication: Condemn, criticize and complaint. A positive communication approach is more productive and improves adherence to treatment and patient satisfaction with better therapeutic outcomes. This is very important in cases of chronic diseases such as diabetes. Lifestyle modifications are an integral part of management of type 2 diabetes, which is a lifestyle disorder. Patients have to become accustomed to living with a disease. Therefore, they not only need treatment from their doctor, they also look to them for empathy and support in adjusting to a new lifestyle.

The language that doctors and other healthcare professionals involved in treatment use to discuss the disease may impact both self-perception and treatment outcomes for people living with diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) have published a Consensus Report to help guide the language used by healthcare providers to be positive, respectful, inclusive, person-centered and strengths-based, acknowledging the paradigm shift in diabetes care toward a collaborative approach that includes people with diabetes as the primary member of their care team.

The task force made five key recommendations for discussing diabetes:

  1. Use language that is neutral, nonjudgmental, and based on facts, actions, or physiology/biology
  2. Use language that is free from stigma
  3. Use language that is strengths-based, respectful, inclusive and imparts hope
  4. Use language that fosters collaboration between patients and providers
  5. Use language that is person-centered

The Consensus Report titled “The Use of Language in Diabetes Care and Education” is published online October 17, 2017 in the journal Diabetes Care.

(Source: ADA News Release, October 17, 2017)

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