Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Reflections and Resolutions

It's traditional at this time of year to look back and forward, with reflections on the past year and making resolutions for the one to come. At SD, we're no different, except perhaps that our resolutions are really wishes for diabetes and healthcare in 2015 rather than our own ambitions (although we do have those, honest!). So here goes with our take on 'r and r'

It's been an amazing year, full of great experiences, both locally and abroad. We've proudly held workshops with groups of participants from Medway to Melbourne! All have been interesting, enjoyable and above all, useful to the health professionals attending, in developing their skills and experience. We've published papers on practical, person-centred care and taken part in national conferences and advisory boards. To celebrate World Diabetes Day in November, we've proudly made type 2 diabetes education available direct to individuals, through 'Diabetes Manual Complete'. Our ambition for providing and promoting personalised approaches to living and working with diabetes has continued to be realised. We'd like to publicly thank all our customers and colleagues for working with us and helping this message to get 'out there'!

Moving on to resolutions, then. As mentioned above, these are more wishes for developments in the coming year and where we can make a contribution. Firstly, we hope for improvements in the provision of diabetes education that match the rhetoric in most documents and recommendations. The current referral and uptake for people with diabetes is tiny, when the impact of it can be huge, if not life-changing. Currently, millions of people with diabetes are being failed by diabetes care services, which focus more on medical aspects than learning to live with the condition. Our contribution is to raise awareness of an effective and cost-effective programme that can be delivered in existing consultation time, the Diabetes Manual Programme, and its personal 'sibling', that people can now buy direct from SD,'Diabetes Manual Complete'.

Secondly, we hope for an even greater emphasis on emotional and psychological aspects of living with diabetes and enabling more people to access help and support. Whilst, rightly, medical services can make referrals to specialists, our contribution is to make available 'Successful Diabetes Signposts', a large collection of reliable self-help organisations and resources, so that people can invest their time in identifying their own needs and helping themselves to support alongside (or perhaps instead of), waiting for clinical referrals or appointments.

Finally, we wish for personalised, collaborative care for long term conditions such as diabetes to become far more the norm than at present. True collaborative care involves the person's thoughts, feelings and wishes at every stage of their care. In our view, central to this is results-sharing. Results-sharing shows the person what is happening to the all-important numbers on which their treatment decisions are usually made. Collaborative care cannot be happening if these results are not made available to the person on whom the consequences of these decisions will fall. Currently, several enlightened services have chosen to offer to share results with people with diabetes, with pretty universal approval. However, these tend to be specialist clinic 'pockets' rather than in diabetes care as a whole, for example in general practice. Our contribution is to offer workshops and publications on how personalised, collaborative care can be implemented and the evidence to back up its effects.

If these wishes are realised in 2015, it will truly be a year of progress in personalising diabetes, and other long term conditions, care. We are looking forward to doing even more, to make them come true!

In the meantime, all at SD join in wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy Christmas and New Year!