Ninjabetic – The love of learning
As I sat back on my sofa with a cup of tea in my hand, feet up and my day-to-day tasks behind me, I realised what a beautiful thing online learning is.
It’s fast, fun, easy to access and it suits my life. There I was refreshing my memory on the carb counting skills I had learnt four years ago (which are now very rusty, I have to say!), from the comfort of my own home, with the option to take as long as I needed or to skip to another section as and when I was ready.
Honestly, for me in my current stage of life there is not a better option than embracing the world of digital health care and making the most of the innovative ideas available.
This is the kind of learning that I have advocated for over the years; the option for online education needed to be brought to those who, for whatever reason, could not attend traditional structured education, and there are many of those people out there.
So, a wonderful thing has been created for the world of type 1 diabetes and we can finally shout about and celebrate the launch of the revamped T1 online education course, BERTIE.
If you haven’t yet heard about it or visited the site then please do, you’ll find a wealth of insightful and informative content which will help you to better understand, self-manage and live your life with T1.
When it comes to type 1 diabetes and structured education there are many opinions about when it should be done, where it should be done, why, how, who, what etc, but something that we can all agree on, as shown in national reports, is that it isn’t being done.
Not as it should be anyway. The latest national diabetes audit shows that only 32 per cent of people with type 1 are being offered structured education (this is actually an increase on previous years) with only a very small percentage of people taking that offer up!
Why is this?
Well, when we look at the evidence there isn’t a whole lot out there, but reasons do include patients not being offered education, difficulty in taking time off work/school and university/family life to attend courses and not understanding the importance of knowing more than just the T1 basics.
Education is included in the Diabetes UK 15 Health Care Essentials because it is just that… It is essential.
If you haven’t heard of structured education or you haven’t been offered it then do ask your health care team why this is (you should be offered it!)
Alongside that take control and head on over to the BERTIE website for a head start and to gain the knowledge you need and deserve.
Education contributes towards empowered patients who are able to self-manage on a day-to-day basis around the three hours a year that we spend with our health care team.
It reduces the risk of diabetes related complications, hospital admissions and future psychological issues and all of these things are not only brilliant for people living with type 1, but in the long run it will save the NHS a hell of a lot of money.
Now that really makes me wonder why it’s not offered more often. Diabetes UK also state that if a patient is unable or does not wish to attend a group course (the traditional method of providing education) then a suitable alternative should be offered.
BERTIE is that alternative. It provides people with the option to have the education they need. It enables people to not only have access to structured education around carb counting, insulin dosing, exercising and illness, but it goes the extra mile to provide people with content which will help them at different stages in their life; whether that’s pregnancy, insulin pumps, driving, exam stress, festivals, drugs, alcohol, psychological issues… the list really does go on!
That is the beauty of this site, it provides you with more and it allows you to choose, revisit, prioritise and develop your knowledge based on your unique needs as a patient.
As you can probably tell I am hugely excited about this website and the possibilities it has for your future.
As patient lead I was delighted to have the opportunity to bring the voice of the diabetes online community (#doc) to the website and to share your experiences with the team to ensure it was as patient focused as it could be.
I had no doubt that the team from Bournemouth Hospital would do a fantastic job in creating a spectacular environment to suit life with diabetes and all that comes with it.
As patients and carers, we know that education needs to be ongoing and that at different stages in our lives we will come across situations where we need information to reassure us and help us manage.
These stages can often be stressful, anxious and frustrating and add to that the demand that is on the NHS, the length of waiting times, the length of appointments being reduced and it’s no wonder that people take to the internet rather than waiting for their questions to be answered.
I think BERTIE is a fantastic step in gathering the need to know information, exploring the insightful patient experience and encouraging people to explore new ways to self-manage.
Like I said, 10 years after being diagnosed and four years after undertaking my education course, I’m now refreshing my memory and finding that there are still gaps in my diabetes knowledge!
I would definitely encourage you all to visit the website and explore it to see if it can help you.
A big thank you goes to Helen Partridge and the diabetes team at Bournemouth Hospital for creating something wonderful for not only their patients, but for us all.