Published on 8 July 2020

Education for people newly diagnosed with the condition could prove “life-saving”.

An online educational programme for people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has been introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic to replace face-to-face sessions.

Since lockdown measurements were introduced in March, Spirit Health have converted their structured diabetes education programme into a fully virtual service using video calls within three weeks after recognising that they could not deliver the service in its traditional in-person model.

From April they have run three courses each week for up to 20 newly diagnosed people with type 2 diabetes across the UK.

Almost one in three of all deaths from coronavirus among people in hospital in England during the Covid-19 pandemic have been associated with diabetes and healthcare professionals said it was more important than ever for people with diabetes to receive the best care possible.

Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar levels) and obesity in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes were independently associated with increased risk of severe complications from Covid-19.

Controlling this risk factor is cited as potentially reducing the impact of Covid-19 in people with diabetes, highlighting the potentially life-saving importance of support and education for people living with the condition.

Claire Pridige, Education Service Manager, Spirit Health, said: "It's so important to be able to support people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, many of whom will be anxious about their condition, and arguably even more so than usual during this time.

"Two of our trained diabetes educators have been able to convert rooms in their homes to provide the specialist education online, using video conferencing and chat facilities to help engage patients and encourage dialogue, which is an important part of the programme. So far, the feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive.”

She added: “We assessed the course content and structure in line with government guidelines during the pandemic, and fortunately were able to adopt an online model very quickly, which has meant minimal disruption to patients who had just been referred. However, our concern now is for those individuals who fear they might have type 2 diabetes but are not going to their GP. Our message is that help is very much available."

After attending the online course, Sherry Want said: "I've been really worried about my newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. The course has given me some fantastic knowledge and I feel a little easier now on how to get started. It's a crazy time at the moment, but the course has really made a difference to my life and how I was feeling, lots of positive changes to start."

The Empower course was designed specifically for people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and consists of a structured curriculum delivered in a single session lasting 3–4 hours.

Find out more about the Empower course here or call 0800 852 7460 if you need help booking online.
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