Background: The prevalence of diabetes is increasing in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) and over two-thirds of these are not diagnosed. Consequently, diabetes complications usually exist at the time of diagnosis. Foot ulcers is a leading cause of disability and mortality among diabetes patients.
Purpose: To assess the knowledge and experiences of adult patients with Diabetes on diabetes complications and self-management practices with emphasis on foot care.
Methodology: This applied phenomenological study design. Twenty patients attending Diabetes clinics were purposively sampled from two hospitals in Ghana. Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted to evaluate patient's understanding of diabetes and self-management practices. The interviews were audio-taped, transcribed, and analysed to generate themes using the constant comparison method.
Results: Three-quarters of the participants in the study correctly defined diabetes as high blood glucose levels, but few knew the risk factors and complications of diabetes. Stroke and Hypertension were the most popular complications known, whiles diabetes foot complications were the least known. Almost all participants showed awareness of dietary self-management practices, but few had limited knowledge in foot care practices.
Conclusion: Diabetes education in LMICs should promote self-management practices, especially foot care and clear dietary guidelines. There is also opportunity to invest in specialist diabetes training for healthcare providers and increase community-based care for people living with diabetes in Ghana.