General practice management of type 2 diabetes

Patient education and self management
☰ Table of contents




All people with type 2 diabetes should be referred for structured diabetes patient education


NHMRC, 2009


Diabetes education should be delivered in groups or individually


NHMRC, 2009


Diabetes education should be culturally sensitive and tailored to the needs of socioeconomically disadvantaged populations


NHMRC, 2009


*Refer to Summary, explanation and source of recommendations for an explanation of the level of evidence and grade of evidence

Education to support self management is an integral part of diabetes care. Patients and their carers should be offered a structured, evidence-based education program at the time of diagnosis, with an annual update and review.57

Educating people with diabetes about their condition and its treatment will assist in self management.58–60

In addition to the team members mentioned in Figure 2, patients can obtain further education and support through Diabetes Australia and the NDSS, and their state or territory diabetes organisation. 

Multiple online support and education programs may be available for patients who are unable to access face-to-face group meetings. However, there are few studies on the individual effectiveness of these programs. 

Self management

Self management involves the person with diabetes working in partnership with their carers and health professionals so they can:

  • understand their condition and various treatment options
  • contribute to, review and monitor a plan of care (eg care plan)
  • engage in activities that protect and promote health
  • monitor and manage the symptoms and signs of the condition
  • manage the impact of the condition on physical functioning, emotions and interpersonal relationships.

Identifying barriers to self management is important when developing a management plan with the patient. Issues around cognition, physical disability, mental health, health literacy, socioeconomic constraints, location and access to services can have an impact on the ability of the person to self-manage their diabetes.61

Diabetes Australian and RACGP logo's
  1. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Type 2 diabetes in adults: management. [NG28]. London: NICE, 2015.
  2. Wens J, Vermeire E, Hearnshaw H, Lindenmeyer A, Biot Y, Van Royen P. Educational interventions aiming at improving adherence to treatment recommendations in type 2 diabetes: A sub-analysis of a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2008;79(3):377–88.
  3. Loveman E, Frampton GK, Clegg AJ. The clinical effectiveness of diabetes education models for Type 2 diabetes: A systematic review. Health Technol Assess 2008;12(9):1–116, iii.
  4. Lau AN, Tang T, Halapy H, Thorpe K, Yu CH. Initiating insulin in patients with type 2 diabetes. CMAJ 2012;184(7):767–76.