Perceptions of psychosocial support groups by parents who have a child with diabetes: A needs analysis
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Psychosocial support groups play an important role in assisting parents to understand and manage the demands of having a child with diabetes. Actual participation in such groups is marred by problems of poor uptake, irregular attendance and attrition. A survey was conducted with a convenience sample of parents to determine their knowledge needs about preferred program characteristics, the management of diabetes, perceived barriers to program participation, and factors facilitating group attendance. A response rate of 66% (n=40) was achieved. Parents favoured a program that was only conducted monthly or three to six times a year, held during the evening or weekend and of two or three hours duration. Parents were keen to know more about new developments in the treatment of diabetes, and strategies to assist their child when they refuse medication or treatment. The most commonly reported barriers to group attendance were distance, timing of groups, and employment demands. Participants were more likely to attend a support group in order to learn new information or skills, keep up to date, as well as meet parents in the same situation. Support groups need to address both content and practical issues for enhanced support and empowerment of families.