As National Diabetes Month comes to a close, we’d like to share this blog post written for the Society for Participatory Medicine blog post published November 2, 2018.
The language used in healthcare has such a significant impact on how a person living with diabetes FEELS about living with diabetes and how they trust and engage with healthcare professionals.
If you already know us, you know we support the language movement and encourage everyone to think about language in a new and fresh way. When we drafted the scripts for the two #LanguageMatters videos (links on our web page on the lower right and in the blog post) that’s when we began to think about creating A Fresh POV for You because we knew there were more opportunities to impact the diabetes community in a new and positive way.
Here are a few quick and easy suggestions, that while simple can be a game changer and help stop the blame, shame, stigma and judgement often associated with diabetes.
- Instead of using words like adherence and compliance, focus on what the person is actually doing to manage their diabetes. You can ask about when and how they are taking their medication, focusing on their strengths instead of judging behaviors.
- Refrain from using language that implies the person living with diabetes is unmotivated or doesn’t care. Instead, recognize the time required to manage a chronic condition and appreciate the hard work they are doing every day.
- Replace the word diabetic with person living with diabetes all of the time! (However, a person living with diabetes can choose the language that best suits them.)
As we suggest in the blog mentioned earlier, language choice is a habit, and just like anything else, it takes a little practice to change behavior! If you start to think about diabetes management from a solution focused approach you will naturally use language that is strengths based and action oriented, and not focused on blame. We can embrace a healthier way of talking about diabetes by changing perspectives on language and the impact it has on anyone living with diabetes. Let’s create fresh, new behaviors because #LanguageMatters!