November is Diabetes Awareness Month and, to help raise awareness of this condition which affects thousands of adults and children across Forth Valley, we are featuring two recent initiatives.
The first is the work of a local family group set up and chaired by Juliet Catlin, Senior Charge Nurse for the Ophthalmology Day Care Unit & Eye Clinic. Juliet was motivated to found the group after her son Harris was diagnosed with type one diabetes.
Forth Valley T1D Families is a charity and family group for local children living with type one diabetes. The group offers peer support to children and parents and organises monthly free fun events for children with diabetes and their siblings as well as online and face-to-face peer support for caregivers.
They recently completed a sponsored walk around Larbert Loch and the Maggie’s Centre to raise funds for the group and are organising a physically distanced pantomime at Falkirk Town Hall. During the pandemic, they created 50 packs for families with a new diagnosis which contained practical non-medical items (including weighing scales, a medical alert bracelet, notebook, pen and calculators) along with messages of support. These packs have been distributed by NHS Forth Valley’s paediatric diabetes team and have been well received. Money raised from the recent walk is also being used to replenish stocks of the pack at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
The other new development is the creation of a new section on the NHS Forth Valley website for people with diabetes which has attracted more than 20,000 visits since the site went live. The section, which was developed by NHS Forth Valley’s Communications Department in partnership with local clinical leads, covers all aspects of education and advice. This includes detailed information on blood screening, emotional wellbeing, pregnancy, diet and travel as well as videos and frequently asked questions. In Forth Valley alone, around 19,000 people have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and around 1,800 have type 1.
NHS Forth Valley Lead Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Carolyn Kiddell, said: “People with diabetes have been telling me how the website has been a great help. It has been used when trying to decide on which insulin to adjust, to checked injection sites and raise awareness of the importance of pregnancy planning. It’s also a great resource to help people recall and reflect on guidance they have been given at appointments.”
The new diabetes advice and support website can be found at www.nhsforthvalley.com/diabetes