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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-27

Shared medical appointments for Innu patients with well-controlled diabetes in a Northern First Nation Community

1 Labrador-Grenfell Health, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Canada
2 Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Canada
3 Graham Consulting Services, Newfoundland, Canada

Correspondence Address:
MD Yordan Karaivanov
Labrador-Grenfell Health, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CJRM.CJRM_45_20

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Introduction: The prevalence of diabetes and its complications in the Innu community of Sheshatshiu is high. We wanted to determine if shared medical appointments (SMAs) could provide culturally appropriate, effective treatment to Innu patients with relatively well-controlled diabetes, as an alternative to standard, 'one-on-one' care. Methods: We conducted a mixed-method study including a randomised controlled trial comparing standard care versus SMAs for patients aged 18–65 years with haemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) of ≤7.5%, followed by a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with patients who attended SMAs. Results: Among 23 patients, 13 received the intervention. There were no significant differences of HbA1C level or HbA1C percentage of change between intervention and control groups at baseline, 6 months or 12 months. There were no statistical differences between standard care and SMA groups, concerning mortality or the need for haemodialysis. The qualitative analysis found that patients generally enjoyed the SMA model and the peer support and learning benefits of the SMAs. Patients did not believe that the SMA model was more or less culturally appropriate than standard care, but the majority said they felt that the SMAs were good for the community and could be a good venue for incorporating Innu healthy–lifestyle knowledge into medical diabetes care. Conclusions: SMAs may be an efficient way to manage well-controlled diabetic patients in the Innu community of Sheshatshiu and to provide peer support and opportunities for learning and incorporating community-specific knowledge into care.

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