Self-monitoring for long term conditions like diabetes is all the rage in the new NHS. To be fair, it has long been advocated, but it is, happily, really centre stage at the moment. The idea that looking after your own health, taking responsibility and being personally involved in decisions about treatment, is central to the NHS reforms, summed up by the phrase ‘no decision about me, without me’.
It’s a welcome change from historical services for people with long term conditions, (which, incidentally, they have always managed themselves for the most part, so the idea is not new, just reality being acknowledged). The previous approach was based on following ‘doctor’s orders’ and woe betide you if you got it wrong as this would lead to a ‘telling off’ appointment with a penance of more rules to follow until the next time. For many, ‘getting it wrong’ was most of the time because doctor’s orders (often without explanation) is one thing, but having the tools to do the job, such as information, testing equipment and discussions with others, is quite another. There used to be way too much of the former ‘rules’ and not nearly enough of the latter ‘means’. Thankfully that has all changed now, or at least is in the process of changing, as we have discussed regularly on this blog.
But have new rules replaced the old ones, bringing their own difficulties in applying them? For example, Diabetes UK have an admirable website, which includes a great deal of information for all ages and types of diabetes. On there is a page called ‘monitoring your health’, which sets out the need for ‘knowing your blood glucose, your blood pressure and blood fat levels, as well as the condition of your feet and getting your eyes screened for retinopathy’. While this may be accurate, it is a pretty tall order to hold in your mind every day whilst trying to juggle the usual demands of family, work and social life. It’s possible that someone could get it equally ‘wrong’ with knowledge as they may previously have done without it!
It was with these thoughts in mind that our latest ebook was born. Trying to address the question ‘how do I remember what’s important about managing my diabetes whilst getting on with my life?’, one answer has come in the form of ‘Diabetes ‘Forget-Me-Nots’, a bright and friendly little ebook with a mission to act as a spare diabetes memory! We hope it’s going to live on people’s ebook reader, tablet or computer so that when it comes to following the ‘rules’ of the moment, it can offer that extra bit of help and confidence to get it right - for a change.
Diabetes UK: Monitoring Your Health