Dr. Katie Savin
SOCW 223: Practice-Informed Research in Health Sciences
Individuals with diabetes have to meet their job duties while taking care of their diabetes at their workplace. Diabetes can be seen as a job itself for its ongoing attention and care needed. Individuals with diabetes are encouraged to maintain their glucose level at a normal range by checking their blood sugar levels, exercising, following a nutrition plan, and taking oral or injecting medication. The workplace can be a challenging place for individuals to attend to their diabetes. Therefore, people with diabetes are entitled to accommodations through the federal law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The accommodations are set to support people with diabetes in the workplace to meet their health needs.
An open and closed-ended questionnaire was developed to assess diabetes accommodation within the workplace. These researchers collected data from 10 participants on their accommodation use in the workplace and identified barriers to accessing accommodations. The participants were recruited through social media platforms and were asked to complete the self-reported questionnaire through Google Forms.
Findings & Conclusions
The research found that participants are not receiving these accommodations, and 50% of the participants were not aware of the ADA accommodations. Accommodations the participants found most helpful that are already part of the ADA were:
- The storage for medications, insulin, and/or food
- Allowing frequent breaks to attend to their glucose levels/reorienting from hypo/hyperglycemia.
- Provide an area to test blood sugar levels or attend to their diabetes in private
The result of this study highlights the importance of workplace accommodations for people with diabetes. Participants were in favor of accommodations and therefore a substantial effort needs to be made so people with diabetes are supported in the workplace to live a quality life.
People with diabetes should be informed by human resources and health providers about all resources available to them related to chronic conditions. Participants were unaware of these accommodations and therefore did not know how to access them. The workplace should also have flyers implemented in break rooms educating on the accommodations available when having a chronic illness.
Stricter policy should be implemented to ensure the workplace provides accommodations and assures job security for people using accommodations. Participants feared losing their jobs and therefore are keeping their health information private. All workplaces should be enforced and regulated by law to have storage for medications, insulin, and/or food and allow more breaks for those who need it. Participants also preferred private areas with appropriate disposal for syringes. The workplace should be held accountable when not meeting the accommodations for people with diabetes. Therefore, private rest areas should be available for people with diabetes to feel more comfortable and safer when administering their insulin. People with diabetes are capable of working and having an income will support them financially. The workplace can support this community by providing the appropriate accommodations they need.
Escobedo, Diana Madera; Gomez, Guadalupe; and Vang, Sarah, "Diabetes in the Workplace" (2021). MSW Capstone Conference. 9.