There is a paucity of diabetes educational programs and services tailored to young adults with type 1 diabetes (T1DM). Age-centred diabetes education programs and services present an opportunity for young adults to meet in a supportive environment while gaining a better understanding about diabetes management.
The current study aim was to identify diabetes education program and service needs of Australian young adults aged between 18 and 35 years with T1DM, to develop, pilot and evaluate a diabetes education program or service for this group.
Thirteen semi-structured individual interviews were conducted to understand participants’ experiences with diabetes education programs and services. Transcribed data was used to develop themes, which were further analysed into categories using comparative analysis.
Identified themes fell into two major categories: 1) events considered as turning points in participants’ diabetes management (life transitions) and 2) transitional needs to successfully navigate a turning point.
Transitional needs of young adults with T1DM were determined from key influences on participants’ ability to navigate a turning point. They included: a) communication with healthcare professionals; b) awareness of existing diabetes education programs and services; c) availability and access to diabetes education programs and services; d) perceived value of diabetes education programs and services; e) availability to attend diabetes education programs and services; f) accessing credible diabetes-related information and g) meeting other people with diabetes.
The findings suggest a need for easily accessible diabetes education programs and services with relevant and credible information for young adults with T1DM. Opportunities for peer support also emerged as a valuable part of diabetes education programs and services. However, such programs and services require better promotion to encourage its uptake. These findings also highlight the pivotal role healthcare professionals play in helping young adults with T1DM around diabetes management through life transitions.