Turning Points as Opportunities to Partner with Patients Living with type 2 Diabetes or Prediabetes

Christy J W Ledford, Carla L Fisher, Lauren A Cafferty, Jeremy T Jackson, Dean A Seehusen, Paul F Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: Understanding patients' perspectives about their diabetes and what causes those perspectives to shift is critical to building a treatment strategy with the patient and facilitating patient self-management behavior. Key "turning points" can provide crucial opportunities to enact a change in perspective. The goal of this study is to identify "turning points" that have significance to diabetes-related health.

METHODS: Research coordinators interviewed 33 patients aged 25 to 65 diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus or prediabetes at medical centers in Augusta, Georgia, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Retrospective interview technique and turning point analysis was employed to plot health or diabetes management changes from diagnosis up to the present day. The constant comparative method was used to conduct a thematic analysis. Axial coding identified properties characterizing each turning point.

RESULTS: Patients reported 5 interrelated turning points occurring at various times after diagnosis: 1) gaining knowledge, either through patients own research and/or a health care class; 2) making lifestyle changes, including exercising and healthier eating; 3) encountering a life-changing event/transition, including events that derailed healthy behavior, motivated health behavior, and removed barriers to enacting healthy behavior; 4) receiving social support, either through holding patients accountable or encouraging them to enact healthy behavior; and 5) interacting with clinicians, such as medication changes or behavior changes critical to disease management.

DISCUSSION: These turning points provide specific moments throughout diabetes care in which family physicians can effectively partner with patients. By prompting, facilitating, or attending to these turning points, family physicians can partner with patients throughout diabetes care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-219
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/therapy
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Prediabetic State/diagnosis
  • Qualitative Research
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Support


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