Perceptions of Delay in Seeking Medical Help among People with Diabetic Foot Ulcers in Rural Southwest China


  • Wangqiao Zhu PhD (Candidate), Faculty of Nursing, Khon Kaen University, Thailand.
  • Khanitta Nuntaboot Faculty of Nursing, Khon Kaen University, Thailand.
  • Jia Liu Faculty of Nursing, Youjiang Medical University for Nationalities, China.
  • Sulan Long Faculty of Nursing, Nanchang Medical College, China.



China, Diabetic Foot ulcers, Pre-Hospital delay, Qualitative description, Social-ecological model, Treatment delays


Diabetic foot infection is one of the most severe complications of diabetes mellitus. Immediately seeking medical attention is vital after foot ulcers occur; however there are often delays in seeking treatment. This study used a qualitative descriptive approach to explore the perceptions of delay in people seeking medical help for foot ulcers in three villages in Baise, rural areas of southwest China. Fifteen patients were recruited in this study. In-depth interviews were performed to collect data from August to October 2022, and thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. This study identified four main themes: personal estimation; supernatural and traditional power; health service expertise, cost and access to hospital care; and psychological and complementary care. Inadequate awareness of potential ulcers and a preference for alternative methods significantly contributed to delays in medical foot care. Additionally, a shortage in community healthcare services impeded the timely initiation of proper foot care actions. It was worth noting that the preference for Traditional Chinese Therapy was relevant to the delay in seeking medical attention on foot, yet it was not perceived before. These findings serve as crucial evidence for developing interventions and future policy adjustments. Further consideration of the multifaceted impacts is necessary to incentivize prompt treatment decisions for diabetic foot ulcers. Nurse specialists should be concerned regarding psychological care, and dual-way support between nurses and families is vital for prompt medical care-seeking. Nursing education should emphasize knowledge of pathophysiology integrating prayer merits and Chinese therapies for patient empowerment.


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How to Cite

Zhu W, Nuntaboot K, Liu J, Long S. Perceptions of Delay in Seeking Medical Help among People with Diabetic Foot Ulcers in Rural Southwest China. PRIJNR [Internet]. 2024 Mar. 21 [cited 2024 May 23];28(2):265-79. Available from: