Posted by on Thursday 14 June 2012

Family support for T2s

Way back when this blog was just beginning Jane wrote about the lack of support offered to families and partners of adult diabetics. Quite rightly there seems to be support available for parents of children with diabetes, but for those diagnosed in adulthood there seems little in place in terms of help and education unless partners, spouses or carers are able to push their way into appointments with the patient.

It seems that bastion of high street chemistry Boots is trying to change that, at least for the families of people living with type 2 diabetes. Research undertaken by Boots and supported by, among others, Dr Katharine Barnard, Health Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton suggests that families could be pivotal in supporting and motivating someone with type 2 diabetes, who at the very least should have access to good information about how their diabetes is treated and what sort of checks they should be receiving.

With 80% of the NHS’s 9.8 billion annual UK diabetes bill being spent on treating complications*, mobilising the wealth of latent support represented by these willing family members could prove a powerful weapon in better management of Type 2 Diabetes and in improving lives. Eight in 10 (81%) family members say they’d use extra support if it were available which is why Boots UK has launched a new Diabetes Information Service that not only provides support for people living with the condition, but also valuable advice and guidance for their families to help them start having better conversations.
* largely preventable

I get a bit nervous when these kinds of organisations start wanting to dish out advice to people with type 2 diabetes. Partly because I see so many people on internet forums who have a terrible time coping with their type 2 based on some of the questionable advice they get from their healthcare professionals! There was also a fairly disastrous campaign by Lloyds recently which provoked quite a lot of disquiet among diabetics by failing (as is often the case) to properly differentiate between types of diabetes.

I really hope this initiative goes well. A family which understands the crucial role carbohydrates play in the management of type 2 diabetes is less likely to say, "Oh surely that won't matter?". A family that understands how difficult type 2 can be to control is less likely to think, "It's only diabetes, just take a tablet and carry on as before". A family which all eats the same diet together make it easier for the person with diabetes to stay on the wagon. A family that understands the potential consequences of poor control will be better at motivating their loved through the dark days.

I haven't had a chance to see the Diabetes Information Pack, and have only briefly looked at the the information on the Boots WebMD website. Thankfully I didn't see much evidence of the usual "people with type 2 diabetes must eat lots of starchy carbs" nonsense, but I can't guarantee it isn't there lurking in the shadows so be wary. Encouragingly they also suggested that self-testing is important in the management of everyone with diabetes (well they do sell the equipment after all). If only we could get GPs around the country to feel the same way.

If you have a family member with type 2 diabetes how able do you feel to offer support? Comments please!

Disclosure: I was sent 'press release' information about Boots new Diabetes Information Service, but was not paid to write this post (I wish!)

No comments:

Post a Comment