Learning from shared diabetes experiences
One of the ways people learn is through observing and assessing the actions of others who in a similar situation.
Diabetes is a serious health issue with approximately 225,000 people living with the condition in Ireland. It can be managed well however by leading a healthy lifestyle, taking medication and with regular support and education.
However, with the right help, advice and support, there is no reason why Irish people with diabetes cannot live life to the full. Diabetes Ireland, the national charity for people with Diabetes since 1967, provides support, education and motivation to everyone affected by diabetes in addition to advice received from their diabetes healthcare team.
It is very important for a person with diabetes to have optimal control of their condition, so they are best protected in the event of any illness. Optimising diabetes management requires daily decision-making regarding food choices, activity levels and taking medication. Knowing that help, advice, education, care and support is available from Diabetes Ireland is an added benefit to the support received from your GP or diabetes healthcare team.
In recent months, Diabetes Ireland has had to evolve and move many of its education services online. This was because almost the entirety of its education services were previously delivered face-to-face. Not to be beaten by COVID-19, Diabetes Ireland has now developed a range of virtual services that are easily available online.
One new development has been the introduction of education webinars for people living with diabetes and their families. Since October 2020, we host monthly webinars which are extremely well-attended with very positive feedback from attendees. Some of these webinars were specifically for people with Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes while others were for everyone living with diabetes.
The aim of the webinars is to provide people with practical information around the challenges of living with diabetes at this time. They are delivered by doctors, nurses, dietitians and other healthcare professionals covering a wide range of relevant topics. Registration will normally be through our website www.diabetes.ie so keep an eye on our website. Alternatively, telephone Diabetes Ireland on 01-842 8118 or email: email@example.com and ask to be sent an invitation directly.
If you have been recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes there is a strong chance that you will not have received any education on how to effectively manage your condition on a day to day basis. Or perhaps, you are living with Type 2 diabetes for a few years and you feel you may need a refresher course to help you improve your daily diabetes management.
Diabetes Ireland has launched its long- standing group education programme for people with Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes as a virtual programme which can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. The course is called CODE (Community Orientated Diabetes Education). Pre-COVID, CODE was normally delivered in community group settings. In recent months, we have adapted the programme so that it can be facilitated online via the zoom platform. It is free to attend and supported by the HSE.
The programme is facilitated by one of our Diabetes Nurses or Dietitians and is delivered over four, 2 hour sessions. Group interaction and discussion is encouraged as all aspects of living with Type 2 diabetes are discussed. Participants get support from others living with Diabetes as they share their knowledge and experience of living with diabetes for the benefit of others in the group. For further information or to book a place on this education course you can register online on www.diabetes.ie or alternatively telephone Diabetes Ireland on 01-842 8118 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to find out more about CODE.
If you would prefer not to take part in a group session, don’t despair as we also have an online diabetes education programme called “Diabetes Smart”, which is designed to help people living with Type 2 diabetes and Pre-diabetes manage the condition in daily life.
The programme is a 55 minute online series of videos, quizzes and visual tools that you can watch and participate in, from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace.
Diabetes SMART is divided into 5 modules that explain:
Diabetes Smart provides practical information such as visuals of carbohydrate food portion sizes using everyday utensils to help identify correct portion sizes, tips to reduce portion sizes and advice on reading food labels and how to shop wisely.
You can also check your starting fitness levels and be guided on the level of exercise that is recommended, view videos on warm-up exercises and identify barriers for exercise and ways to over-come those barriers.
Diabetes Smart also includes information on medication, managing high and low blood glucose levels, how to avoid complications of Diabetes and information regarding a medical annual review. For more information see diabetes.ie.
Of course, we are also available on our diabetes helpline to answer any pressing diabetes related issue or concern you may have. Our helpline is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm telephone 01-842 8118 or you can email email@example.com with your query.
In 2020, our diabetes helpline dealt with approximately 6000 calls, a lot of which were individual health concerns related to COVID requiring healthcare professional input. Our website provides a fountain of information on all aspects of living with diabetes so don’t delay and pay a visit today www.diabetes.ie.
From these calls, we were able to identify the most frequently asked questions and concerns of people with diabetes and we developed a COVID & Diabetes Management Section on www.diabetes.ie which is updated regularly as HSE information changes.
Over 30,000 people accessed the section last year for information on how to manage their condition during COVID. Our website provides a fountain of information on all aspects of living with diabetes so don’t delay and pay a visit today www.diabetes.ie
People with diabetes have special reason to take good care of their feet. Long term high blood glucose levels may make feet susceptible to injury and infection. This is because the protective sensation in the toes or feet – your “pain alarm system” may slowly disappear with long term high blood glucose levels. This combined with a reduced blood supply to your feet decreases your ability to heal wounds and fight infection. So, it’s important that you visit a podiatrist at least once a year for a full “diabetic foot screen and treatment” where the podiatrist checks the blood flow to your feet and your ability to feel pain.
Diabetes Ireland’s Care Centres in Cork and Dublin are open 5 days a week 9am-5pm during these COVID times where you can make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists in a safe environment. Telephone Cork Care Centre (021 4274229) or Dublin (01 8426273) for an appointment. Our podiatrists also treat all other non-diabetes related lower limb conditions and provide routine foot care so your family members are more than welcome to make an appointment.
Our podiatrists are specifically trained to provide a comprehensive diabetic foot care review and treatment. This involves assessing your circulation (blood supply), nerve damage to your feet (neuropathy), identifying your specific foot health risks and helping you come up with a treatment and prevention plan.
As part of your appointment, our Podiatrists will fully explain the results of your diabetic foot assessment and provide a podiatry care plan tailored specifically to your foot care needs. This includes educating you on how to care for your feet (do's and dont's of caring for your feet), what to look out for, a full treatment (nails, callus, corns, fungal nails) and footwear advice. Our podiatrist can also evaluate the biomechanics of your foot posture thereby detecting early signs of abnormal pressure areas preventing problems.
Diabetes Ireland is a member-based charity who needs your support to ensure we can help you and every person in Ireland living with diabetes. Become a member today and avail of our many benefits including delivery of our members magazine with lots of tips and advice to your door, preferential fees for our Care Centre services and ongoing education and support. To become a member ring 01 842 8118 or visit www.diabetes.ie
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