Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust's Youth Empowerment Skills
(YES) programme works with young people with diabetes, who have low levels
of engagement with diabetes care, from socially deprived areas in South
London. YES was co-designed and co-delivered by young people and aims to
foster self-confidence and strengthen engagement with diabetes care. The programme contrasts with traditional
education models for diabetes as it uses novel educational strategies: key features include outreach work and
innovative learning styles, including simulations, peer-led sessions and fun activities (such as climbing or going
out for a meal). It uses social media to keep young people in touch with each other, encouraging social networking
and the delivery of peer-to-peer support. A clinically important fall in HbA1c has been seen in participants so far.
Adolescence is when a person's identification with a disease is formed. This is a high risk period in which
diabetes is often poorly controlled and there is a high incidence of unplanned hospital admissions. In
addition, in this period many young people acquire maladaptive coping styles that can have enduring
harmful consequences. In the local population of 232 young people between age 14-21, 35 patients were not
attending any diabetes care appointments or retinal screening. The remaining 192 patients attended at least
one appointment over the last two years however, 26% missed more than 50% of their appointments. The
team recognised that a new approach was needed that would reach out and appeal to young people.
To co-design and co-deliver with young people an innovative model of education to enhance
engagement, promote positive coping styles and resilience, provide social resources
and support, and improve health outcomes for young people with diabetes.
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