Crocker, R. M., Palmer, K. N. B., Marrero, D. G., Tan, T. W.
AIMS: Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) and ulceration are complex and lifelong problems for patients with diabetes which dramatically increase mortality rates. This qualitative study sought to capture detailed personal accounts and insights from patients with a clinical history of DFUs and amputations to better understand patient experiences. METHODS: Fifteen patients from a tertiary referral center that treats diabetic foot problems were approached for participation. Inclusion criteria included having at least one DFU and being of white, Native American, or Hispanic background. Interviews were conducted by telephone by study staff trained in qualitative data gathering and audio recorded. RESULTS: The main themes that emerged around impacts included the heavy burden of managing care, significant loss of ambulatory function, economic stress due to medical care costs and job loss, and emotional suffering tied to these stressors. CONCLUSIONS: These data illuminate common social and personal impacts of diabetic foot problems across an ethnically and racially diverse and predominantly low-income US sample that expand our understanding of related declines in well-being. Our results indicate a need for proactive mental health assessment post DFUs diagnosis and the diversification of hospital and community-based support systems.