By Steve Marriott on September 4, 2020
People living with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying with COVID-19 with a third of deaths in England associated with the condition, according to new NHS research1. Hyperglycaemia and obesity in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes were independently associated with increased COVID-19 mortality. Risk factor control is cited as potentially diminishing the impact of COVID-19 in diabetes, highlighting the potentially life-saving importance of support and education for patients.
Recognising in mid-March that it would not be able to deliver its structured diabetes education (SDE) programme, EMPOWER, in its traditional face to face model, Spirit Health was able to convert the education to a fully online service within three weeks. Following four trial sessions conducted during the first two weeks in April, EMPOWER has been live as a virtual service since April 20th. By the end of July, Spirit has run 47 courses online.
To meet more patients’ needs, particularly those who are vulnerable, EMPOWER has started running courses in additional languages in July, helping educate patients with Type 2 diabetes who may not have English as their primary language. Nearly 70 people who speak Indo-Aryan languages have already been referred on to the programme. The majority of these people live in Leicester and surrounding areas.
Expanding upon EMPOWER’s accessibility, the virtual education course is now being delivered in Gujarati, Hindi and Urdu.
Claire Pridige, Education Service Manager, Spirit Health, explains:
“It’s so important to be able to support newly diagnosed diabetes patients, many of whom will be anxious about their condition, and arguably even more so than usual during this time. With Leicester being one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United Kingdom, having this course available in multiple languages has never been more important to ensure it’s being delivered to all patients who may need it.”
“Our concern now is for those individuals who fear they might have Type 2 diabetes but are not going to their GP – our message is that help is very much available, and now, EMPOWER is more accessible than ever before for those speaking different languages, with the aim to include many more over time.”
EMPOWER was designed specifically for people with newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes. It consists of a structured curriculum delivered in a single session lasting 3–4 hours. The lesson plan encourages active and practical involvement of participants, along with the use of problem-solving models, aids identification, and planning of individualised strategies and interventions to help patients self-manage their diabetes. Participants set goals, and clinical and biometric data are captured at 6 and 12-to-14 months by patients’ GPs. EMPOWER has been externally validated against the criteria from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for structured diabetes education and is also certified according to the Quality Institute for Self-Management Education and Training (QISMET) Diabetes Self-Management Education quality standard.