Published on 30 October 2023

We talked to Dr Mayank Patel and Paula Johnson about sick day rules and diabetes at DRWF’s 25th anniversary educational event.

Dr Mayank Patel, Consultant in Diabetes, University Hospital Southampton and Paula Johnston, Diabetes Specialist Nurse, University Hospital Southampton were among leading healthcare professionals presenting on various topics of diabetes management at United Through Diabetes.

At the recent DRWF United Through Diabetes event at Chesford Grange, in Warwickshire, the healthcare professionals led a session on Type 1 diabetes and sick day rules. Dr Patel also presented on type 2 diabetes later in the day.

Mayank and Paula are the co-authors of the new Diabetes management when you are ill, while Dr Patel is also a member of the DRWF Editorial Advisory Board.

DRWF spoke to Mayank and Paula at the event about the value of such educational events for people living with diabetes.

DRWF: Mayank, you have been coming to these events for several years. What are your feelings around why we do them and why they're important?

Mayank: “It has been an absolute privilege and a pleasure supporting DRWF for a number of years, and seeing it here on this scale at such a big setting with such a massive array of opportunities and educational things for individuals with diabetes is fantastic.

“I think there is a great opportunity for people to come along and learn about diabetes in a different way, perhaps outside the traditional health care model. Setting is really important at a time that is hopefully convenient on a weekend for some people. Seeing diabetes specialists, non-specialists, charity staff, all discussing diabetes in one place is priceless.”

DRWF: This is your first time at a DRWF Wellness event, Paula. What is your impression so far?

Paula: “It is fantastic to see all the different stands for the diabetes companies. I think it is fantastic, really good for peer-to-peer support.”

DRWF: What is the difference between the clinical setting and something like this?

Paula: “It is more of a relaxed environment and more sociable. There is time for people to talk to other people with diabetes, as well as people from the industry.”

DRWF: What is your presentation about today?

Mayank: “Paula and I were asked to discuss the importance of individuals with diabetes and those close to them knowing what should run well. A turn of phrase used quite commonly is “sick day rules”. Paula and I are looking forward to doing a session on people living with type 1 diabetes having been unwell with the condition and discussing sick day rules. I will also be discussing type 2 diabetes and being unwell and how to manage that.”

DRWF: That includes looking at medication and how you manage when you are unwell?

Paula: “It is basically some advice really. If you are not able to eat and drink we are offering some tips and hints of what other things you may be able to take to keep your blood glucose levels stable.”

Mayank: “And knowing when to seek help, Of course, if you are unwell not struggling alone is the important thing to remember when you are not very well. Get help urgently if you are worried.”

DRWF: And is that different for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, or are there some similarities?

Paula: “There are definitely some similarities. There are a few differences due to some of the new medications, within type 2 diabetes particularly. Generally speaking, the rules are very similar.”

Mayank: That is a commonality. Equally, there are some differences that we will allude to, but we'll cover both of them.”

DRWF: There is also an opportunity for people to come and chat to you because you're here all day long. That makes a huge difference, doesn't it?

Paula: “Absolutely. We are here to answer any questions and help where we can.”

Mayank: “As Paula said, it is much more relaxed outside the traditional hospital clinic setting conversation, for example. Hopefully people feel more comfortable asking what might seem like a silly question. There are no silly questions about diabetes. We are happy to take any questions and look forward to meeting people today to discuss things across the day.”

Watch the interview here

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