The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has provided £2.7m for the development of a new education programme for people with type 1 diabetes known as DAFNEplus.
The programmen, which will be developed by the University of Sheffield in collaboration with the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will augment the Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE) course, a highly successful programme for people with type 1 diabetes.
It is recommended that every adult with type 1 diabetes enrol in DAFNE. Research shows that structured training improves self-management of blood glucose levels.
DAFNEplus is designed to support those who struggle to implement the techniques they learn from DAFNE. Many find the carbohydrate-counting and insulin-measuring aspects of DAFNE complicated and difficult to implement.
“Many adults with type 1 diabetes find it tough to self-manage their diabetes effectively; this can lead to damage to the eyes, feet and kidneys, hospital admissions and even premature death as a result of poor glucose control,” said Professor Simon Heller, Professor of Clinical Diabetes at the University of Sheffield and Research and Development Director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.
“We have learnt a lot from our research through the DAFNE programme and the training it has provided has had a positive effect on participants. While it has been successful in delivering a step change in the way type 1 diabetes is treated in the UK, it is clear that we need to look at how we can help people sustain the behaviours needed to manage their diabetes successfully on a permanent basis.
“DAFNEplus will take this forward with the aim of developing a lifelong package of support and training. At the core of this package will be the use of technology which will assist in breaking down many of the barriers to managing glucose levels including complex calculations of insulin doses and having to count the carbohydrate content of every meal, with the overall goal of helping people live better in managing their condition themselves.”
The research is expected to take around five and a half years. Once it is finished, it is expected that DAFNEplus will be used to support the content of the initial DAFNE course, rather than being a separate course altogether.

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