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  • 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2019
  • Project No: 399
  • Funding round: FR 15

Patients with diabetic foot ulcers are advised to rest and limit weight-bearing activity in order to aid healing. The problem is that many patients are unable to follow this advice and as a result their foot ulcers do not heal. This negatively impacts patients’ health and is costly for the NHS. A one third reduction in the number of diabetic foot ulcers would save the NHS £210m-£262m per year.

A key factor affecting whether or not patients follow treatment advice is the quality of the relationship between the patient and the healthcare professional. Healthcare professionals can influence patients’ willingness to follow treatment advice by the communication style that they use (e.g., what they say and do and how they say and do it).

Theories of motivation can be used to understand how and why certain types of communication styles may better support patients to follow treatment recommendations. Research has found that training healthcare professionals to use a more motivationally supportive communication style can increase patient compliance with a range of behaviours including: physical activity, smoking cessation, and medication.

The use of a more motivationally supportive communication style has not yet been tested with healthcare professionals working with patients with diabetic foot ulcers. Therefore, this study has three aims:

  1. To develop a theory-based motivation communication training programme for healthcare professionals working with diabetic foot ulcer patients.
  2. To examine if the training programme leads to changes in healthcare professionals’ communication style.
  3. To explore if the programme results in reduced weight-bearing activity in patients. 

Amount awarded: £48,500

Theme: Organisation and delivery of care