Remote Research: Resources, Intervention Needs, and Methods in People with Diabetes and Peripheral Neuropathy

Kathryn L. Bohnert, Jennifer A. Zellers, Hyo Jung Jeong, Ling Chen, Alexa York, Mary K. Hastings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Stay-at-home orders associated with the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic were particularly important for older adults with type 2 diabetes, at risk for severe COVID-19 complications. In response, research shifted to remote telehealth methodology. Study participant interests, equipment needs, and ability to adapt methods to the remote/telehealth environment were unknown. Study purposes to assess (1) resource needs (internet/devices accessibility), (2) future telehealth interests, and (3) ability to adapt common research and clinical measures of glycemic control, physical function, activity measures, and quality of life outcomes to a telehealth setting. Method: Twenty-one participants with type 2 diabetes and peripheral neuropathy were recruited from a longitudinal study (11 female; age: 66.3 ± 8.3 years; DM: 15.1 ± 8.7 years). Technology needs and future telehealth interests were assessed. A glycemic measure (HbA1c), a five-times chair rise, a one-week activity monitor, and surveys (self-efficacy, depression, and balance) were collected. All aspects of the study were completed remotely over email and video/phone call. Results: Twelve participants used computers; nine used phones for study completion. Participants had the following resource needs: connectivity (n = 3), devices (n = 6), and technical support (n = 12). Twenty people expressed interest in participating in future telehealth studies related to balance, exercise, and diabetes management. Methodological considerations were primarily the need for assistance for participants to complete the home HbA1c test, five-time chair rise, wearable activity monitoring, and surveys. Conclusions: Older adults with type 2 diabetes and peripheral neuropathy would need technological and personal assistance (connection, device, guidance) to complete a long-term telehealth intervention. Despite technology needs, participants were interested in telehealth interventions. Clinical Trial: Parent study, “Metatarsal Phalangeal Joint Deformity Progression—R01 (NCT02616263) is registered at https://clinicaltrials.gov/.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-58
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Diabetes Science and Technology
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • glycemic control
  • physical activity
  • quality of life
  • rehabilitation
  • technology

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