The Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) has introduced a new patient education programme for people with Type 1 diabetes to assist with condition management and prevent avoidable complications.
It is facilitated and delivered by a multi-professional team consisting of medical, dietetic and nursing colleagues.
The programme which is an internationally recognised structured education programme aims to empower people with Type1 diabetes to match their insulin dose to their chosen food intake on a meal by meal basis. The programme provides the necessary skills to estimate the carbohydrate content of each meal and to inject the right dose of insulin.
DAFNE involves attending a 5-day training course plus a follow-up session around 8 weeks after the course. The programme is tailored to participants and whatever activities they undertake i.e. balancing diabetes with sport, socialising etc. Participants practice the skills of carbohydrate estimation and insulin adjustment and have the opportunity to share and compare experiences with other people living with diabetes.
Linda Patton, General Manager stated that “The DAFNE programme has been successful in giving patients who attend the programme the skills and confidence to manage their Type 1 diabetes, promoting as normal a life as possible.
“The programme has enabled DAFNE graduates to fit diabetes into their lifestyle. As a result of good individual diabetes management it is anticipated that the risk of serious diabetic complications such as blindness, amputation, kidney failure and episodes of ketoacidosis (a serious acute complication that can result in coma) will be minimised.”
A patient from the Antrim programme reported “For the first time since my diagnosis I felt more knowledgeable about my condition and much more capable of managing it. I learnt more in five days in DAFNE than living with diabetes for 48 years”.
It was commented by a patient from the Mid Ulster programme that “This has been five days which will change the rest of my life. I have found the course extremely informative and have more knowledge and confidence dealing each day with Type 1 diabetes than I have had in the past 16 years. By better controlling my diabetes it means I am not having episodes of high and low blood sugars and will therefore be reducing the damage to organs and prevent long-term complications”.
Anyone interested should speak to their relevant healthcare professional for more information.