Diabetes Scotland received funding from the Scottish Diabetes Group (SDG) to focus on creating meaningful and effective relationships between young people with T1 and their healthcare professionals (HCPs) who they see in their diabetes clinics. We will be developing a 'Youth Engagement Toolkit' which diabetes teams can use to engage better with the young people they see, which will hopefully make those dreaded trips to the hospital easier and purposeful.
After building a network of young people across Scotland from the first year of the project, we wanted to build on this, and as a result The Mighty DUKs grew in numbers. Another 20 young people with Type 1 were recruited to join us, to work on developing a Youth Engagement Toolkit.
Developing The Toolkit
We all attended a residential in March 2014 where we worked as a group to identify what the barriers may be for young people with their diabetes clinics. We participated in a number of activities which allowed us to voice what our concerns were, and share what clinic experiences have been like in the past, and what we would like them to look like in future. We took a solution-focused approach to this, and worked on developing a range of tools which could support other young people be in charge of their own care, and help HCPs create better rapport with the young people they see.
Delivering The Project
This project is a pilot project and therefore we only had the scope to work with 4 Health Boards in Scotland. These were – NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Fife, NHS Forth Valley, and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
We attended each of these areas for one day to deliver workshops with each of the diabetes teams. This allowed us to develop relationships with HCPs in our own teams, and share our own experiences and those of the wider group to highlight our needs as young people.
If you are in these areas, your clinic should be introducing tools from the Youth Engagement Toolkit which you can use to get the most from your appointment. Have you ever felt like your HCPs don't know you and have never listened to what's important to you? The tools we have developed will help them get to know you as an individual and will allow there to be a 2-way street in the appointment.
In addition to the toolkit and the workshops which gave HCPs the skills and the tools they need, we want to connect young people with Type 1 diabetes to provide them with a network of peers to gain the social and emotional support young people need. We will be using closed Facebook groups to act as an online forum for young people to start talking to each other, which will then lead to face-to-face support both within and outside of clinics.
“Connecting with others with Type 1 does something that the health service can’t. It provides me with the confidence and motivation to continue to self-manage my condition more effectively” - Megan, Mighty DUK