Keeping it Person-Centered | QoW Rationale

Our October 27th Question of the week quizzed test takers on person-centered language. We are happy to report that 88% of respondents chose the correct answer. We thought that this was an important topic to discuss further, so we can pass on correct info to people living with diabetes.

Before we start though, if you don’t want any spoilers and haven’t tried the question yet, you can answer below: Answer Question

Question: Language use while interviewing someone with diabetes can have a profound impact on the meaningfulness of the interaction. 

Which of the following comments uses a person-centered approach and exemplifies the use of updated diabetes language?

Answer Choices:

  1. We don’t recommend avoiding breakfast
  2. Tell me more about skipping your afternoon insulin
  3. I notice you haven’t tested your blood sugars daily 
  4. Exercise is important because it helps control your glucose levels

As shown above, the most common choice was option 2, the second most common answer was option 3, then option 3, and finally option 1.

Getting to the Best Answer

If you are thinking about taking the certification exam, this practice test question will set you up for success. Test writers anticipate possible answers based on the details in the question. They will wave those “juicy answers” right under your nose. Your job is to weed through the particulars, pluck out the most important elements and choose the BEST answer.

Most of you chose the correct answer, which is really terrific.  I have noticed an increased awareness of the new language paradigm when coaching people with diabetes. I am confident this person-centered approach will strengthen the meaningfulness of our interactions and improve quality of life for people living with diabetes.

Answer 1 is incorrect. 1.44% chose this answer. “We don’t recommend avoiding breakfast”

The fact that this sentence starts with the word “we”, gives us the first clue it is not person-centered. This approach and language align more with the out-dated compliance model, which simply gives people direction without seeking input or collaboration.

Answer 2 is correct. 87.77% of you chose this answer. “Tell me more about skipping your afternoon insulin”

This is an example of the preferred curiosity-based approach that is free of judgment.  It simply acknowledges the fact that the person is skipping their afternoon insulin and requests more information about the circumstances.  It represents a person-centered and collaborative approach.

Answer 3 is incorrect. About 5.76% of respondents chose this. “I notice you haven’t tested your blood sugars daily”

This approach is not strength-based, instead, it has a hint of judgment and criticism. The person receiving this message might feel shame or embarrassment.  A strength-based approach would be, “You have been checking your blood sugars 4 times a week.”  Then we could have a conversation to determine if that is often enough or if more checks would be beneficial.  This strength-based approach engages the participant and acknowledges what they ARE doing.

Finally, Answer 4 is incorrect. 5.04% chose this answer. “Exercise is important because it helps control your glucose levels.” 

Instead of telling people TO exercise, a better approach would be starting with a question like, “Did you know that every minute of exercise lowers your blood sugar about one point?”.  Or, “Is there a type of activity you have done in the past that you enjoyed?”  In addition, we avoid using the word “control” and replacing it with the word “manage”.  We could also say, “The great thing about exercise is that helps manage blood sugars for 24-28 hours.”

Want more info on Language and Diabetes?
Check our our FREE Webinar and Resources Page – Lifting People UP with our Words.


We hope you appreciate this week’s rationale! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our Question of the Week and participate in this fun learning activity!


Test Taking Toolkit (220+ practice questions) | Online | $ 49.00

Whether you are preparing for the updated CDCES or BC-ADM exam, this test-taking toolkit is designed to prepare you for success. This toolkit includes two courses with over 220 practice questions to help you prepare and simulate the exam.

Our exams incorporate changes to the CDCES content outline, including a more intensive focus on technology, social issues, and emergency readiness. Plus, we have added a FREE bonus course, Language and Diabetes – What we say matters (0.5 CEs). Coach Beverly added this course because she believes it contains critical content for the exam and for our clinical practice!

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