Study provides new standard care guidelines for type 1 diabetes

October 10, 2017 by  

A London-based study on the transition from paediatric treatment for diabetes, to adult care has identified new ways of helping patients successfully cope with the disease.

Tamara Spaic and Cheril Clarson, scientists at the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, began their experiment with the transition program in 2012. The program incorporates a certified diabetes educator into the standard practice of care for youth between the ages of 17 and 20.

At this stage of their lives, young people are often leaving home for the first time, many attending secondary education or beginning their careers. Usually, this is the first time a patient is responsible for their own care, and it typically results in poorer control of the disease.

During the study, the diabetes educator would accompany the patient to their medical appointments, which were often at a new clinic after the young adult had moved for school or work. The coordinator would also be available to answer questions and give advice outside of regular office hours, with calendars and personalized stationery often assisting among medics as they work with patients.

In total, 205 young people with type 1 diabetes participated in the randomized controlled trial, with 104 patients receiving help from the diabetes educator, and the remaining 101 participating in the current standard of care.

The study concludes this year, with positive outcomes already being reported. Patients working with the coordinator kept more of their appointments at the clinic and reported feelings of empowerment over their disease.

Researchers will check back with their patients in a year to see the long-term impact of their intervention. An economic evaluation will also be completed to determine if use of the diabetes educator resulted in a healthcare cost reduction.