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New online course for Diabetes patients

Friday, 17 July, 2020

Patients with Type 1 Diabetes will now be able to access a special remote version of a popular course that helps them manage the condition and avoid emergency hospital visits.

People with this condition are considered to be a particularly vulnerable group and would usually complete the course in a traditional face to face environment, but because of the current pandemic this is no longer possible.


Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating or DAFNE is designed to help 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 any long-term complications.


However since March 2020 face to face courses across the UK and Republic of Ireland have been cancelled due to Covid-19 and a new remote version will come online on the 20th July.


Northumbria Healthcare is one of 41 centres across the country piloting the new virtual course as the public adapts to social distancing rules and restrictions placed on large groups.


The DAFNE course is for adults (over 17 years old) with type 1 diabetes and is a comprehensive and often life-changing experience. It focuses on learning from experience, trying new things under supervision, and benefiting from the support of a peer group.


The programme has been proved to significantly reduce the risk of emergency hospital admissions and severe hypoglycaemia as well as lowering the overall cost of treatment for the NHS.


The new online course has been developed so that adults with type 1 diabetes can still access the high quality, structured education process. It is facilitated by a specially trained educator over five weeks, to groups of up to 4 people, using a blended learning approach. This includes:


  • online learning materials
  • independent study and activities (DAFNE participant workbook)
  • remote group activities which are facilitated by trained staff
  • peer support using a closed online group


Sally Woolgar, national DAFNE training lead said “Participants can build their own support network using a closed social media group and support each other in between their remotely facilitated sessions.


“This enables them to reflect on their learning and bring their successes, queries and challenges for interactive discussion with their peer group and educator during the remotely facilitated sessions which use video meetings to support group interaction.


“This blended approach can help to avoid the typical pitfalls, such as feeling isolated or difficulty with motivation.”


The remote course will be launched on the week commencing 20th July providing training for up to 304 adults in the first 3 weeks and the results will be audited over the next 12 months.