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In the latest Inside Northumbria blog Gillian Thompson, National Director of the DAFNE Programme tells us how the service has adapted during the pandemic

Wednesday, 26 May, 2021
In the latest Inside Northumbria blog Gillian Thompson, National Director of the DAFNE Programme tells us how the service has adapted during the pandemic

The Covid pandemic has had a huge impact on everyone, especially those providing healthcare services and patients with long term conditions.


At DAFNE we provide support and training to diabetes specialist teams across the UK and Republic of Ireland in the delivery of the DAFNE course to adults with type 1 diabetes which usually involves face to face sessions and groups of patients coming together to support each other in physical locations.


Of course, the spread of Covid19 a series of national lockdowns and the need to socially distance had a huge impact on our service and that really impacted on all our plans.


Despite all the disruption and change with a bit of hard work and planning we managed to transform our work and last month won a national award from Diabetes UK (click here to find out more).


DAFNE, which stands for Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating, helps adults with type 1 diabetes lead as normal a life as possible, while also maintaining blood glucose levels within healthy targets, to reduce the risk of long-term diabetes complications.


The programme helps people learn by hosting sessions about managing insulin around the carbohydrate content of the food they eat along with exercise, illness, and social activities including drinking alcohol.


Because of the need to keep everyone safe our face to face services were suspended in March 2020 but during lockdown we developed a totally new way of working called Remote DAFNE.


This is a blend of online learning, workbook activities and remote group sessions facilitated by DAFNE educators.  Since July 2020 more than 80 local DAFNE services across the UK and Ireland have been trained on delivering this new format which has proved a huge success.


According to our research most people spent 2?6 hours per week completing the online learning and 95% would recommend it to someone else with type 1 diabetes.


The Remote programme really offers a new way to deliver high quality, structured education that is very highly rated by people with type 1 diabetes.


While we are based at Northumbria Healthcare in the North East of England we offer the course right across the country and I know that clinical teams and patients have been impressed not just with the new way of working but also the speed at which we were able to introduce it.


Winning the award was a special moment for all of us because it was such an endorsement of everything the team has done to ensure that people with type 1 diabetes can access these resources while the health system has been under such strain.


As restrictions continue to ease we all hope that life will start to get easier, particularly for people with Diabetes and we will continue to keep these remote sessions as interactive as possible with everyone sharing lived experiences and learning from each other.


Find out more about DAFNE here.