A key requirement in delivering structured education programmes is to have an underpinning philosophy which will guide the learning theories to be utilised and hence the delivery of programmes. The Network meeting in May 2006 was devoted to helping teams develop a philosophy. Encouragingly, the discussion revealed a large degree of consensus amongst participants, reflected in the following statement of philosophy. Following consultation with centres aligned to the Network, the steering group have adopted this as the philosophy for the Network:
Diabetes is a complex condition, which is affected by, and can affect almost all daily activity. Most day to day decisions (eg food choices, activity levels, the taking of medication or insulin), which affect blood glucose levels, are made by the person with diabetes. As such, people with diabetes are responsible for managing their condition (unless due to mental disability they are unable to make informed decisions).
People with diabetes require knowledge and skills to enable them to understand the effects of lifestyle on their diabetes and vice versa, and how they can manipulate their treatment to enable them to lead the lifestyle of their choice while maintaining stable blood glucose control. They also need information on the consequences of poor control of their diabetes so they can make informed choices in setting appropriate personal goals for the management of their diabetes
The role of the health care professional is to provide support to people with diabetes to enable them to develop realistic short term and long-term management goals, and to help them acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve those goals.
The person with diabetes has the right to expect the following from their health care professional:
- The development of an open, honest and non-hierarchical relationship with the person with diabetes
- An approach which treats the person as an individual, which is respectful of their health beliefs, and which is supportive, consistent, and non-judgemental
- An opportunity to identify and review the person’s needs, concerns and goals
- The provision of up to date, accurate and consistent information about diabetes, treatment options and local services (eg education programmes) available, in order to address their needs and concerns and help meet their goals.
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The health care professional will achieve this by:
- Engaging with the person with diabetes and gaining their trust
- Identifying and exploring their current health beliefs and factors which motivate current self-care behaviours
- Helping the person to explore and understand the risks and benefits of their current situation/management choice and of any alternative options.
- Providing appropriate information to support decision making
- Providing (or providing access to) knowledge and skills needed to achieve self-care behaviour appropriate to that decision.
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Structured education programmes:
are an appropriate means by which people with type 1 diabetes can learn the knowledge and skills necessary to support appropriate self-care behaviours. Such programmes should:
- Be explicit in their aims and objectives
- Be consistent with the principles outlined above
- Employ appropriate learning theories
- Fulfil or be working towards fulfilling the criteria set by the Department of Health
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Adopted by The Type 1 Education Network Steering Group
Version 1.1 August 2008