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carers, diabetes, education needs, end of life, palliative care



  1. Savage, Sally PhD, BA(Hons), DipEd
  2. Dunning, Trisha PhD, MEd, AM, RN
  3. Duggan, Nicole MNursPractice, RN, Grad Cert Diabetes Ed
  4. Martin, Peter MMed, MB, BCh, BAO, PGDipPM, FAChPM


Diabetes is a common, increasingly prevalent chronic disease. Many people requiring palliative care have diabetes. Diabetes requires lifelong self-care tasks. Family carers frequently perform these tasks when the person with diabetes is no longer able to perform them, but there is a lack of information about carers' needs to enable them to undertake their new care tasks. The study aimed to collect information from family carers of people with diabetes requiring palliative care about their views and experiences of managing a family member's diabetes at the end of life and identify their needs to enable them to undertake diabetes care tasks. Data were collected during individual, semistructured interviews with 10 family members caring for a person with diabetes receiving palliative care. The 4 key themes identified were as follows: I didn't know what to do; it's a big responsibility; I need education; and it's important to manage diabetes. Family members/carers feel anxious about their increasing responsibility when caring for their family member's diabetes and need information and education to help them monitor and interpret blood glucose levels, manage high or low blood glucose levels, and administer glucose-lowering medicines safely and confidently.