Patient-perceived and Practitioner-perceived Barriers to Accessing Foot Care Services for People With Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Literature Review
Background Foot-related complications are common in people with diabetes mellitus, however foot care services are underutilized by this population. This research aimed to systematically review the literature to identify patient and practitioner-perceived barriers to accessing foot care services for people with diabetes.
Methods PRISMA guidelines were used to inform the data collection and extraction methods. CINAHL, MEDLINE, and Scopus databases were searched in March 2022 to identify original research articles that reported on barriers to accessing diabetes foot care services from the patient and/or practitioner perspective. Both quantitative and qualitative studies were included. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP) tool for qualitative/mixed methods studies or the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI) tool for quantitative studies. Following data extraction, content analysis was used to identify reported barriers. Themes and subthemes were presented separately for patient-perspectives and practitioner-perspectives. A narrative summary was used to synthesize the findings from the included studies.
Results A total of 20 studies were included. The majority of CASP and NHLBI criteria were met by most studies, indicating good overall methodological quality. Three predominant themes emerged from the patient perspective that represented barriers to accessing foot care services: lack of understanding, socioeconomic factors, and lack of service availability. Four themes emerged from the practitioner perspective: poor interprofessional communication, lack of resources, lack of practitioner knowledge, and perceived patient factors.
Conclusions This study has identified a number of barriers to accessing foot care services from both the patient and practitioner perspectives. Although patients focused predominantly on patient-level factors, while practitioners focused on barriers related to the health care system, there was some overlap between them. This emphasizes the importance of recognising both perspectives for the future integration of policy changes and access facilitators that may help to overcome these barriers.