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Developing a National Diabetes Prevention Programme for the Republic of Ireland during COVID-19.

Authors:

Liz Kirby ,

Health Service Executive, Cork, IE
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Aoife Ward,

Health Service Executive, Cork, IE
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Margaret Humphreys,

Health Service Executive, Cork, IE
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Sean Dineen,

Health Service Executive, Cork, IE
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Orlaith O'Reilly

Health Service Executive, Cork, IE
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Abstract

Introduction: The Sláintecare Action Plan 2019 sets out a 10 year plan to meet the health and social care needs of the Irish population, by developing primary and community services and by placing a greater emphasis on prevention and population health initiatives. The Health Service Executive (HSE) was funded by Sláintecare to design and develop a national Diabetes Prevention Self-Management Education (SME) programme. Supported by the Integrated Care Programme (ICP) for Chronic Disease this programme intended to deliver a group lifestyle intervention programme in a face-to-face setting but with the onset of COVID-19 the programme design was changed to online delivery.

Aim and Objectives: To design, develop and pilot a national Diabetes Prevention SME programme for those at high risk of Type 2 Diabetes and use the lessons from the pilot to scale up for national implementation. The programme delivers lifestyle intervention to groups online by enabling and empowering participants to self-manage their diabetes risk. Evidence-based care guidelines were developed and inform the curriculum which is underpinned by a core philosophy of the person at the centre of care. Trained educators in six pilot sites delivered the pilot to a sample of service users. A subset of participants provided feedback throughout and guided curriculum and material development.

Highlights, Results or Key Findings: COVID 19 presented both challenges and opportunities for recruitment. A pilot sample of n= 73 was achieved (aged 35-84 years with 43% ≥ 65yrs).The inclusion of an individualised telehealth initial assessment ensured that service users received personalised care. Participants were trained and upskilled to enable them to fully engage with the group programme online. Qualitative (participant online survey) and quantitative data (educators recording clinical measures, demographics and attendance of participants) has been collected at base line and will be collected at two other time points (6 and 12 months). The user experience is captured in the online survey which asks about knowledge, skills and confidence of participants as well as their overall satisfaction with the programme. Interviews with educators provide valuable learning around recruitment, initial assessment and curriculum content. Programme materials include an educator training manual, participant handbook and materials to support online delivery.

Conclusion: Virtual SME has proved acceptable and successful for delivery to those at risk of Type 2 diabetes. Keeping service users at the centre of the design and development of the programme has enabled the successful delivery of this programme during a time of COVID. This programme has now been scaled up as the National Diabetes Prevention Programme for Ireland.

 

Implications for applicability/transferability, sustainability, and limitations: The learning from the pilot will guide the next steps in the roll out of this national Diabetes Prevention Programme.  The role of telehealth and online solutions in SME for diabetes prevention will be further examined to enhance implementation.

 

How to Cite: Kirby L, Ward A, Humphreys M, Dineen S, O'Reilly O. Developing a National Diabetes Prevention Programme for the Republic of Ireland during COVID-19.. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(S3):374. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.ICIC22364
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Published on 04 Nov 2022.

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