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Get Confident About Diabetes Management in Six Weeks

By Amelia Dmowska

Diabetes management programs that are six weeks long and great ways to learn how to manage medications, healthy eating, activity, and more!

The Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) is a six-week long program – 2.5 hours per week – for people with type 2 diabetes who want tools and guidance around diabetes management. The six-week program typically meets for 2.5 hours per week. Though studies have not reported any significant changes in A1C values following completion of the program, there are other potential benefits of participating in DSMP. After completion of the program, participants notice improvements in their sense of well-being, less depression, less time spent with low blood sugar, and healthier eating habits. In addition, participants report feeling more empowered to communicate with their health provider, and be generally more on top of their diabetes management. So, while six weeks may seem like a significant commitment, DSMP could be the support you’re looking for.

DSMP emphasizes group participation to build confidence and skills around diabetes management through discussion and problem-solving. Participants make weekly health-management action plans and share their challenges and successes with one another as they work to meet their personal goals. The program also helps people with injecting insulin, checking blood sugars, reading food labels, managing symptoms, and making the most out of healthcare provider visits. 

The DSMP curriculum was developed by researchers at Stanford University; physicians, diabetes educators, and dietitians have evaluated all materials used in these workshops. The content is also reviewed and updated each year to meet the American Diabetes Association’s standards.

DSMP is also available for Spanish-speaking people with type 2 diabetes through the Spanish Diabetes Self-Management Program (SDSMP), or Programa de Manejo Personal de la Diabetes.

A similar program, the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), exists for anyone with a chronic condition.

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DIABETES SELF-MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

How can I find one close to me?

  1. Visit the Evidence-Based Leadership Council site by clicking here.

  2. In the “Select a State” box, enter your state.

  3. Click the “Select Programs” box and check “Diabetes Self-Management Program” or “Programa de Manejo Personal de la Diabetes” (in Spanish) under “Self-Management Programs.”

  4. Scroll down and click “Search.”

  5. Look at the map to see which programs are located closest to you, or scroll down to find specific websites and contact information for each program.   

Who would benefit? 

Anyone with type 2 diabetes (English and Spanish).

How much does it cost?

Cost varies, but the 6-week program is rarely more than $50.

Do I need a referral?

No.

Who teaches the program? 

Two leaders who must be trained by certified Master Trainers. At least one leader must have diabetes.

What is the format of the program?

  • The DSMP program is taught in small group workshops with 12-16 participants.

  • The workshops take place in community settings like churches, libraries, hospitals, or senior centers.

  • The classes last 2.5 hours per week for 6 weeks and participants are actively involved throughout.                

Where can I find more information?

To learn more about diabetes self-management programs, click here.

GENERAL CHRONIC DISEASE SELF-MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS

People with any kind of chronic condition, including diabetes, can also enroll in a general Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP). Though these programs are not diabetes-specific, they cover a variety of relevant topics, like dealing with frustration and fatigue, appropriately taking medication, and maintaining healthy eating habits, as well as breathing and relaxation techniques. CDSMP is also available in Spanish through the Tomando Control de su Salud program.

To locate a general chronic disease program near you:

Visit the Evidence-Based Leadership Council site by clicking here, select your state, and check “Chronic Disease Self-Management Program” or “Tomando Control de su Salud” under “Self-Management Programs.” Scroll down and click “Search,” and use the map to see which programs are located closest to you.

Like the DSMP, you do not need a referral to enroll in CDSMP, and the cost of the program is typically less than $50 or free.

If you don’t have time to go to workshops on a weekly basis, you can also consider using a self-study toolkit to build a personalized self-management plan. The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program: Tool Kit for Active Living can be purchased for $43.96 and includes many of the same tools and information as CDSMP. This toolkit is also available in Spanish. The toolkit allows you can work through the resources at your own pace and on your own schedule, but you do miss out on the group support and accountability of an in-person workshop.

  • Click here for English

  • Click here for Spanish

A variety of other program materials are available through the Self-Management Resource Center, including print and audiobooks on living a healthy life with chronic conditions. 

This article is part of a series on affordable programs that help people learn skills and tools to manage their diabetes or prediabetes. To learn about different available programs, click on the links below:

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