Making the right CHOICE: diabetes service for children and young people in the Southern Trust area
With Diabetes Awareness week running from 8 to the 14 June 2014, one particular diabetes education and support programme is proving to be a great success with children and young people who have diabetes. The programme is called CHOICE and is helping families and children to manage their diabetes more effectively. The CHOICE programme was originally developed by Dr David Chaney in the University of Ulster, specifically for children and young people with diabetes. This programme is being rolled out across the Southern Health and Social Care Trust area, with funding provided by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme, secured by Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT), the cross border health services partnership. To date a total of 498 people, including children with diabetes and their parents / carers, have attended CHOICE clinics in the Southern Trust area.Children and young people attend the CHOICE programme over a four week period, with each session lasting 3 hours. The aim of the programme is to give children, young people and their families or carers, the skills and knowledge they need to manage their diabetes and to reduce the impact of the condition on daily activities and lifestyle. In the Southern Trust area, the CHOICE programme is now available in Daisy Hill Hospital, South Tyrone Hospital; Craigavon Area Hospital; Portadown Health Centre; Tower Hill, Armagh; St Luke’s, Hospital Armagh and Lisanally House, Armagh and is being delivered by Diabetes Specialist Nurses and Dietitians. The feedback has been positive from those that have experienced the CHOICE programme.
In October 2013 Geraldine Corr’s son Adam (aged 6 years), was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. Geraldine is from Armagh and she attended the CHOICE programme in Carn Community Health Centre in Portadown along with her son. Geraldine has nothing but praise for the CHOICE programme and the clinic staff. She said: “Three weeks after Adam was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes we started the CHOICE programme in Portadown. The diabetes clinic team running CHOICE were very professional and thorough and gave us all the information we needed, particularly for understanding which foods to eat and how to calculate carbs and work out insulin doses. I really appreciate the support of the diabetes specialist nurse and the diabetes specialist dietitian, Lorraine and Pauline, who are available to talk to at any time. There were 5 other families participating, all newly diagnosed, so we were all in the same boat trying to get our heads around the information. I don’t know how I would have coped without CHOICE and would definitely recommend parents and families accessing the course as soon as possible after diagnosis.”
Angela McVeigh, Director of Older People and Primary Care for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said: “Early intervention is so important in preventing greater risks and complications of conditions like diabetes in later life. CHOICE is really making a difference to the lives of children and young people with diabetes in our area. By educating families we are able to help the young people to become experts in their own condition, helping to improve their future outcomes and quality of life.”
Commenting on the success of the CHOICE programme, Dr Brid Farrell, Public Health Agency and Chair of the Northern Ireland Paediatric Diabetes Network said “I am delighted that the Southern Trust has been able to introduce the programme across their area. Improving diabetes control in childhood improves the quality of life for the child and the family and reduces the risk of diabetes complications. As a result of the EU funding secured by CAWT, the CHOICE programme is being offered to all children and young people in Northern Ireland and the border counties in the Republic of Ireland”
There are places available on future CHOICE programmes which are open to children and young people with diabetes aged up to 19 years and their parents/carers. For further information or to book a place, contact your diabetes team in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.
Notes to Editor
1. Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) is a cross border health and social care partnership comprising the Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland, the border counties of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the Republic of Ireland and the Southern and Western Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland.
2. The Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) Diabetes project is part of CAWT’s ‘Putting Patients, Clients and Families First’ initiative funded by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme.
3. The CHOICE Programme, which was originally developed by Dr David Chaney (Lecturer in Nursing, University of Ulster) aims to give children, young people and their families/carers the skills and knowledge they need to manage their diabetes and to discuss practical daily aspects such as blood glucose monitoring, carbohydrate counting, hypoglycaemia, hyperglycaemia, insulin adjustment, lifestyle issues, physical activity and sick day rules. Children and young people who complete this course will have much more freedom to choose the foods they want to eat, within the context of a healthy diet. The CHOICE programme is established in all Trust areas of Northern Ireland and the border counties of the HSE in the Republic of Ireland.
4. The European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme is designed to support cross border co-operation, social cohesion and economic development between regions of the EU. The Northern Ireland/Ireland programme is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and covers all of Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland. It aims to address the economic and social disadvantage that can result from the existence of a border.