The information needs and information seeking behaviour of adult diabetic patients at Addington Hospital, Durban.
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease associated with high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. (The three types of diabetes are: Type 1 diabetes which is onset in juveniles and is characterised by deficient insulin production and the patient requires daily administration of insulin; Gestational diabetes is onset and first detected during pregnancy and Type 2 diabetes is typically found in adults who are 40 years and over and results from the body's ineffective use of insulin). Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease that can be prevented and managed by following a particular eating plan, exercising correctly and by the correct administration of medication. With relevant knowledge, lifestyle changes and information, type 2 diabetic patients can improve and manage their condition effectively. Hence information provision is especially important for the management of diabetes. The current study investigated the information needs and information seeking behaviour of adult type 2 diabetic patients at Addington Hospital in Durban. The study was conducted on the patients who attend the Diabetic Clinic at the Hospital. A better understanding of the information needs and information seeking behaviour of diabetic patients can contribute to their successful management of diabetes. Longo's 2010, Health Information Model provided the conceptual framework for the study. The study adopted both a quantitative and qualitative approach. Both methodologies were used to assist in gaining an insight into the research. It was envisaged that the use of both methodologies would enhance and increase the validity and reliability of the data collected. A population of 69 adult patients with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes were individually interviewed. The healthcare professionals, which included the Medical Officer and four nursing staff at the Diabetic Clinic and the hospital's diabetic Dietician, completed the self-administered questionnaires. The data was entered into a computer and analysed using SPSS. The data was analysed in terms of frequency of results and presented in the form of tables, bar graphs or pie charts. Four themes emerged from the study: (1) Reliance on the diabetic doctor for diabetic education; (2) the active and passive patterns of information seeking; (3) patients' fear of the consequences of diabetes; and (4) the value of the Department of Health's and the Dietician's packaged information. The results of the study indicated that certain factors influenced the patients' decisions about their diabetes self-management. Their current needs influenced their need to seek out information and in most instances they sought this information out from the diabetic doctor. They could not afford the recommended foods for diabetics and besides obtaining their information from the pamphlets and hand-outs provided by the hospital, they obtained their information from traditional mass media. The study concluded that the patients relied heavily on the information provided by the doctor, the dietician and the hand-outs and pamphlets that are available at the clinic. Without an understanding of the effects of information on type 2 diabetes patients, we have an incomplete picture of how information changes the patients' behaviour, which is of primary concern in healthcare information. The study therefore recommended that future research should investigate the effects information has on type 2 diabetes patients and their behaviour. Recommendations that were drawn from the conclusions of the study were that the Diabetic Clinic and Hospital should consider approaching the South African Diabetes Association (SADA) with regard to volunteering their services and facilities to the patients at the hospital. The Clinic should also consider playing a video/dvd recording on diabetes in the patient waiting room. The Diabetic Clinic should also consider inviting a podiatrist to speak to the patients about foot care.