Research Projects
Evidence-based metaphors for diabetes care

The MetaCare project aims to explore metaphors as effective tools to improve communication and to strengthen the relationship between patients and healthcare providers. The project is funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and aims at providing evidence-based knowledge concerning how metaphors can be fruitfully used in the context of diabetes discourse, through a strong partnership between the Nova Institute of Philosophy and the APDP-Diabetes Portugal.

Why metaphors?

Metaphors are commonly recognised for their rhetorical and poetical effectiveness. However, their strong imagistic power can also build new connections between different conceptual domains, allowing less familiar concepts and ideas to be explained by more familiar ones.


• When used by healthcare providers, metaphors aid in communicating complex medical knowledge, procedures, and decisions, making them accessible and more understandable.
• When used by patients, metaphors are helpful to communicate symptoms and describe the experience of living with the illness.
• Caregivers also benefit from metaphors’ expressiveness when sharing their feelings and concerns of assisting and sharing life with their loved ones.


Metaphors can thus be also used as an effective therapeutic tool to inform, motivate and engage patients and caregivers, but also as a powerful expressive tool to share symptoms, feelings and concerns with healthcare providers.

Why diabetes?

The MetaCare project identifies and analyses metaphors used in the context of diabetes to better understand how they can be used more effectively to inform and share information and feelings. Communicating effectively is always important. However, it is even more important in those contexts where communication is considered an integral part of care as it is in the case of chronic conditions and, for the specific purpose of this project, diabetes.The rate of diabetes progression is alarming «425 million people have diabetes in the world and more than 58 million people in the EUR Region; by 2045 this will rise to 66.7 million. There were 1.065.000 cases of diabetes in Portugal in 2017». For more information on diabetes and its statistics, visit the web pages managed by the World Health Organization and APDP-Diabetes Portugal.