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Empathy May be Key to Diabetes Care

Those providing care for older adults with diabetes may want to take a few cues from the results of a recent study. Researchers in Italy found that diabetes patients whose primary care physicians showed greater signs of empathy often had better health as a result, The New York Times reports.

The study, published in the journal Academic Medicine, looked at more than 20,900 type 2 diabetes patients and 242 of their primary care physicians. After administering a questionnaire to the doctors aimed at gauging their empathy levels, the researchers looked for the rate of metabolic complications in their patients.

Interestingly, while factors such as age or the amount of time the patients had known their doctor had no impact on their risk of metabolic complications, the number the physicians scored on the questionnaire did. In fact, the rate was approximately two-thirds less for patients of empathetic doctors.

"Physician empathy should be considered an important component of clinical competency," study author Daniel Z. Louis told the Times

Though the findings apply to physicians, it is important for in home care providers to take the results to heart and provide assistance outside of the a medical or clinical setting.

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