Increasing Adherence to the Diabetes Regimen: An Occupational Therapy Perspective

Emily F. Piven*

Increasing Adherence to the Diabetes Regimen: An Occupational Therapy Perspective

Recognizing the epidemic of diabetes in the United States, the Centers for Disease
Control projected that as many as one third of the population will have diabetes by 2050,
without a concerted effort to change the lifestyles and habits of people diagnosed with diabetes.

Further, the World Health Organization (2014) announced that diabetes had become a
global epidemic. Occupational therapy has been described as a rehabilitation profession that helps
a person with disease to improve their ability to function in everyday life activities or to adapt
to their environmental demands, in order to continue to function to the best of their abilities.

The majority of occupational therapists in the United States have focused their interventions
and research studies on development of the most effective ways to treat the tertiary complications
of the disease such as: peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy, cardiac disease, cerebral
vascular accident, and amputation.

The consequences of poorly controlled or uncontrolled diabetes have devastated the health
of people with diabetes by providing them with shorter life spans, poor quality of life, further
disability, and increased morbidity.

Having been told of their potential for debilitation, many people with diabetes may
not have been able to understand and visualize their dismal futures, or had deliberately chosen
not to make the necessary lifestyle changes that could maintain their quality of life for as long
as possible.

In addition, older adults, non-native English speakers, racial and ethnic groups
with health disparities, and those with health problems have lower levels of health literacy
that has led to higher morbidity and severe health risks, when compared to the normal population.

Diabetes Res Open J . 2014; 1(1): e1-e2. doi: 10.17140/DROJ-1-e001