In March 2021, Steno DK held a knowledge sharing webinar on “Start-up for newly diagnosed adults with type 1 diabetes at the Steno Diabetes Centers”. The purpose of the webinar was to highlight how the initial period after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes can be a challenging one, and to facilitate mutual inspiration across the centres. Newly diagnosed must learn to live with a chronic disease that will affect their daily life, at work and in their spare time, as well as their family relations and their self-image. There are many things they need to learn about their condition and treatment, including about the associated risks, which in time will have to become an integrated and natural part of their lives. Therefore, it is vital that these aspects are addressed in the start-up phase.
At the webinar, four people with type 1 diabetes gave their personal accounts of the initial period after being diagnosed, including of their encounter with the outpatient centre, and explained what had been important to them in this early phase. Among other things, they emphasized the importance of feeling that they were in safe hands, that their interaction with the health professionals was marked by a level of trust and continuity, and that information was provided to them in a way that was tailored to their situation and needs. In addition to this, they shared an interest in meeting fellow patients and in the possibility of having their close relatives involved in the process.
All the five Danish Steno Diabetes Centers are focused on strengthening and improving the treatment start-up for persons with type 1 diabetes. Their initial treatment paths differ, however, and one reason for this is that while some of the outpatient centres only have 10-15 adults newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes per year, others have up to 150.
In developing the patient care activities, special focus has been placed on ensuring a structured and safe start-up process for newly diagnosed patients, creating continuity and coordination between the various health professionals who are in contact with the patient, and last but not least on offering sound and well-structured patient education. The latter is provided through individual consultations as well as group consultations or theme meetings with an interdisciplinary approach, involving both physicians, nurses, dieticians, psychologists and social workers. All Steno Diabetes Centers have a focus on involving close relatives in the patient education.
Almost 200 health professionals and persons with diabetes participated in the webinar, and the participants agreed to continue working on improving the treatment start-up phase, e.g. by taking measures to strengthen the patient’s sense of safety, ensuring continuity in the healthcare teams, and by strengthening the involvement of persons with diabetes and their close relatives in the planning.
(Video only in Danish)