Masters of Science in Nursing Thesis Defence: “Living well with long term type 1 diabetes”
By: Donna Epp
Supervisor: Sonya Grypma
Second Reader: Barbara Astle
Third Reader: Betty Jean Tucker
Exam Chair: Sheryl Reimer-Kirkham
Since the discovery of insulin, and with the many advances in diabetes management, people with type 1 diabetes have been living longer. Although many studies have explored the experience of the person with type 1 diabetes, most examine the experience of the child, adolescent, or the person in transition to adulthood. In contrast there are few studies that focus on the person living long term with type 1 diabetes. The purpose of this study was to explore the facilitators and barriers to living well with diabetes over the lifespan for those people who have lived long term with type 1 diabetes. Eight people with type 1 diabetes for a duration of 40 years or longer were interviewed face-to-face using a semi structured interview. The analytical approach used was interpretive description, which was developed by nurses for nurses and promotes the practical application of research. Four themes were identified through analysis of the transcribed interviews: accommodating and battling the disease, the convenience and constraint of technology and treatment, self-reliance and reliance on others, and external and personal knowledge. Each of these themes provide implications for practice for the health care team working with people with long term type 1 diabetes. Further research is needed with this population as there seemed to be no literature on studies with those living long term with diabetes. Specifically, further research is needed on diabetes distress, losses experienced due to diabetes, how to meet their educational needs, and how to tap into their expertise for the benefit of those with type 1 following them.