The Specialist Diabetes Team (St Helens & Knowsley) worked with local people to develop a suite of structured education programmes. Diabetes Education through Adult Learning (DEAL) addresses the needs of all people with diabetes – not just selected groups – and it has been incorporated into routine care with no additional resources.
DEAL has transformed the way diabetes education is delivered and is associated with improved outcomes (particularly quality of life and anxiety) and extremely high rates of patient satisfaction. Patients have been heavily involved in the project and this is a key factor in its success.
Education is the cornerstone of effective diabetes self-management. The DH, Diabetes UK and NDST published guidance (2005) on structured patient education setting rigorous standards that people with diabetes should have access to high quality education.
There was a need to establish education programmes that met the standards, were appropriate to meet the diverse needs of local people and were flexible.
Education needed to embrace the needs of people ranging from the elderly to the young, it had to provide for those with diet-treated Type 2 diabetes and for those with Type 1 diabetes desiring intensive insulin regimens. It needed to be flexible to deal with newly diagnosed and those requiring an ‘educational’ top up.
Furthermore, the challenge was to incorporate education into current routine care to ensure its long run sustainability and success.
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