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“I can take control rather than be controlled”

Visit photoAPPG members Keith Vaz MP, Victoria Atkins MP and Baroness Masham took part in a site visit to Whittington Hospital to learn about Whittington Health’s approach to self-management and to meet with individuals who have been through the course.

Looking after one’s diabetes – whether Type 1 or Type 2 – is incredibly complex and requires not only the right knowledge and skills, but also the confidence and motivation to do so. However, too many people with diabetes don’t get the support they need to manage their diabetes and to stay healthy.

Whittington Health has put together a hugely successful self-management programme that gives people with diabetes new skills and knowledge, for example about how to manage pain and fatigue, how to set goals, and how to pace themselves. It also gives them confidence to manage their condition better and to find new ways to reduce the effects their condition has on their life.

The results of the programme have been two-fold:

  1. People who take part in the course feel more confident about managing their diabetes.

The group heard from one individual who said:

“Since having gone on the course, I have the knowledge that I can take control rather than be controlled”

Another individual told the group about how he felt more involved when it comes to making decisions about his health with his doctor: “It used to be the doctor who talked to me, now I talk to the doctor and ask him things”.

  1. HbA1c levels going down. Audits of blood tests found that people who took part in the programme achieved significant reductions in their HbA1c levels. This is particularly important as reductions in HbA1c levels can significantly reduce an individual’s risk for developing complications like heart disease, kidney failure or blindness.

The visit builds on work the APPG did last year when it held a year-long inquiry into the issue of diabetes self-management. You can read the APPG’s report here.

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