Background: The benefit of a "diagnosis" of pre-diabetes in very elderly patients is debated. How clinicians manage pre-diabetic blood results in these patients is unknown. This study aims to understand how clinicians are "diagnosing" older patients with pre-diabetic blood parameters. Methods: Semi-structured interviews and focus groups with health care staff (24 total participants) were conducted in the north of England. Interviews and focus groups were recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically. A grounded theory approach was taken with the theory of candidacy being used as a sensitising concept through which questions were framed and results interpreted. Results: There is a complex system of competing pressures that influence a clinician in deciding whether, and in what way, to inform a very elderly patient that they have pre-diabetes. The majority of clinicians adjust their management of pre-diabetes to the age and perceived risk/benefit for the patient. Whilst some clinicians choose not to inform certain patients of their blood results, many clinicians maintain, what could be seen as a somewhat paradoxical approach of labeling all older patients with pre-diabetes but downplaying the significance to the patient. The policy, organisational context, workload and professional constraints under which clinicians work, play a significant role in shaping how they deal with pre-diabetic blood results in the very elderly. Conclusion: There has been recent acknowledgement of how policy and organisational context frames decision-making, but there is a lack of evidence on how this influences uncertainty and dilemmas in decision-making in practice. These findings add further weight for the argument that treatment burden should be included in clinical guidelines.
|Journal||BMC Family Practice|
|Early online date||29 Jun 2019|
|Publication status||Published - 29 Jun 2019|