The Diabetes Education Network is a UK Network of health care professionals working in diabetes (www.diabetes-education.net ) who are committed to the development and delivery of structured patient education for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The philosophy of DENs is outlined below.
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 who are able to are responsible for managing their condition.
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 adjust 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 (e.g. education programmes) available, in order to address their needs and concerns and help meet their goals.
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 with diabetes 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.
Structured education programmes:
are an appropriate means by which people with 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 NICE and Diabetes UK.
Scotland has developed its own method of supporting the development and delivery of structured patient education. More information can be found on the dedicated website: