Aim: The objective of this study is to investigate the perception that people with type 2 diabetes have about the disease and about their relationship with the primary healthcare professionals.
Design: Qualitative research, carried out between September-November 2000.
Setting: Primary healthcare center Barrio del Pilar from Madrid.
Participants: 15 persons with type 2 diabetes. Variables considered to design the profiles of the interviewed were: age, gender, educational level, and time since diagnosis.
Method: Structural sampling and open interviews.
Results: Patients express having scarce information regarding the consequences of diabetes. As diabetes is symptom free represents a difficulty for being perceived as a severe disease. The most valued aspects of the relationship with health professionals are that they provide with clear and tailored information, build a trust context, support
change and take account their perspectives and living circumstances.
Conclusions: It is essential to recognize how patients understand and shape the disease. Information provided by professionals have to be tailored to patients necessities, and take place in a trusting environment. Decisions related with diabetes management have to be aligned with patients perspectives. Effective communication could be considered as a useful tool to encourage adherence and improve healthcare quality.
Key words: Diabetes mellitus non insulin dependent. Physician-patient relations. Cualitative study.