Managing diabetes in people with dementia: a realist synthesis

Project: Research

Project Details


Worldwide diabetes and dementia are both increasing in number, particularly in older people. It has been estimated that about 16% of people with diabetes may have some form of dementia and in settings such as care homes this may be higher. Having both conditions can lead to significant health problems and diabetes management and diabetic self-care may be adversely affected by the presence of dementia. Currently the main approaches to the management of diabetes revolve around self-management. Whilst this may be appropriate in the earlier stages of dementia this becomes more difficult as the dementia progresses. Knowing what interventions work best to manage diabetes in people with dementia is difficult because management is complicated by many factors including the type and severity of the dementia, the type of diabetes and the sort of medication needed to control it, the level of family support, and whether someone is living at home or in a residential or nursing home. To optimise understanding of what is likely to be effective, there is a need to combine what we know about managing diabetes in older people with what is known about the best ways to support people with dementia and their family carers. We reviewed the evidence using a research approach called realist synthesis. The aim was to make explicit the underlying assumptions that have informed the development of different interventions to manage diabetes and establish an understanding of what needs to be in place for them to be effective for people with dementia.
Effective start/end date1/06/1530/11/16


  • NIHR - National Institute for Health and Research: £94,854.00


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