Degree Name

Master of Science


Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder. Those affected must leam selfmanagement skills to avoid or delay the complications associated with this disorder. To make an education program successful, the needs of the target population should be assessed so their needs can be met. The aims of this study were to determine the nutrition education needs and preferred teaching strategies, as perceived by clients with Diabetes attending Concord Repatriation General Hospital (CRGH). This data can provide nutritionists at the CRGH with information which they can utilise in the development of nutrition education strategies, which aim to increase clients knowledge and skills in managing diabetes. The research method used in this study was a self-completed questionnaire. The questionnaire was distributed and collected by the author. It was given to 45 clients with diabetes in the waiting rooms at the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics Outpatients Clinic and Clinic 10 (a Diabetes Outpatient Clinic) at CRGH. The findings from this study indicate that the majority of the participating clients at CRGH felt they needed practical knowledge rather than theoretical knowledge to help them in the management of diabetes. "General discussion", "general advice for eating" and "pictures" were preferred methods of teaching compared to the traditional "lecture" style. Knowledge of particular foods - "milk", "cheese", "biscuits", "cakes/lollies/chocolates" were rated highly as "Must Know" to help manage diabetes. Foods reflecting one's cultural background were included in the "other" category. A variety of sources for obtaining information on management of diabetes were considered as acceptable options by the sample group. These were: "general practitioners", "individual appointment with a dietitian" and "small groups." The preferred format for "small groups" was one single moming, on a week day. A significant difference exists between males and females in some preferred teaching strategies. More females preferred "cooking demonstrations", "supermarket tours" and "eating out with a group and discussing food choices" compared to males. There were no clear preferences expressed by males for teaching strategies. No significant difference was found between age, education level, cultural background, whether an interpreter was required and period of time since last education session with a dietitian with relation to: nutrition information needs including information on any particular foods, preferred teaching strategies and preferred sources of obtaining information about managing diabetes. From this study it was concluded that practical information presented in an informal manner would best meet the needs of this group. (Preference in the method of teaching changes with gender.) Particular foods need to be discussed and avenues for nutrition education were identified. It is recommended that strategies to educate clients with diabetes about practical information be developed, methods of teaching be informal and incorporated into future education sessions, liaison between the dietitian and general practitioners in the area be established and the needs of non-English speaking communities be further investigated. These recommendations have been made so to try and improve the current services provided by the dietitians when educating clients with diabetes, at CRGH.