Barriers to Prevention and Timely Presentation of Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Perspectives of Patients from a High-risk Urban Population in the US

Diabetic foot amputation is a preventable complication that is increasing in incidence in the United States, with disparities across geography, race, ethnicity, and income. This qualitative study explored the experiences of people in a low-income urban area in the United States in preventing and obtaining care for foot ulcers. Sixteen adults with foot ulcers were identified through purposive sampling based on records of hospital stays and primary care visits. Semi-structured interviews were transcribed and analyzed for key themes. Participants described inadequate understanding of diabetic foot disease: many sought care only after developing advanced symptoms. They identified social and health system factors as barriers to timely access to care. Some participants described a realization of the seriousness of their condition and an ability to improve self-care after developing an ulcer. Patients’ experiences can inform the design of amputation-reduction initiatives to achieve more desirable results, including enhanced self-management capabilities, timely access, and attention to social determinants … read more

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