Diabetes UK: A Comprehensive Guide to Support and Resources
Time to read 9 min
Time to read 9 min
Diabetes is a complicated and misunderstood condition. Knowing what to expect when you first receive a diagnosis can feel overwhelming, but there's plenty of support available. The NHS, private care, and charities, among many others, can support you in adapting to life with diabetes.
In this post, we'll provide a comprehensive insight into how you can manage your condition. Finding diabetes support is less challenging when you know what's available.
The NHS provides a comprehensive management package for people living with diabetes.
The type of care you receive depends on your condition. Type 1 diabetics receive more input from healthcare professionals than type 2 diabetics due to the condition’s severity and its chronic nature.
Diabetes care is often provided by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. They include:
The number of healthcare professionals involved in providing your diabetes care will vary according to the severity of your condition.
The NHS offers access to community groups that help people at all stages of their diabetes journey. For example:
While the NHS is the mainstay of diabetes care in the UK, private options are also available.
The two main avenues to accessing private diabetes care in the UK are self-funded and employer-sponsored health insurance. You can also access services without a plan, but you'll need to cover the costs out of pocket.
There are some advantages to choosing private diabetes care, including:
Always understand your insurance policy thoroughly when looking at private diabetes care, as some policies place heavy restrictions on what is and isn’t covered.
If you're self-funding, remember that minimum costs are a baseline that can soon rise depending on test results and complications.
Some people with diabetes find that the impact of their diagnosis extends beyond the immediate health effects.
Community and social services may be for you if you have another health condition, a disability, or severe diabetes complications that affect your daily life.
Social prescribing services involve using a link worker to help you connect with certain agencies. For example, if your condition is making it difficult for you to stay in employment, your link worker can help you with housing and financial advice.
You can learn more about social prescribing in different areas of the NHS here:
Not everyone with diabetes requires help from a district or community nurse. However, if you need help injecting insulin or managing wounds, your GP may refer you to the community nursing service.
Community nursing is available in home settings and local centres. Whether or not you receive home visits will depend on how mobile you are.
Diabetes UK is the UK's leading diabetes charity. It provides online and offline support groups and campaigns for better care and treatment. The charity also provides resources, including self-guided education packages.
If Welsh is your first language, Diabetes UK has a branch called Diabetes Cymru. It provides access to local groups and essential resources for Welsh speakers.
DRWF focuses on research and offering wellness advice to those living with diabetes. Their mission statement is "Staying well until a cure is found." They aim to help you live a healthy life free from complications, but curing diabetes is their ultimate goal.
DRWF also has a children's foundation. It offers support to children and their family members, including resources for managing diabetes in young people.
Evidence shows that access to diabetes education improves blood sugar levels and reduces complications. Many programmes aim to understand the physiology of diabetes, how to make lifestyle changes, and the importance of adhering to treatment programmes.
Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed focuses on providing support to people with type 2 diabetes. As an NHS service, its education programmes are evidence-based and approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).
DESMOND provides a unique suite of programs, including
The NHS Healthy Living programme offers support to those living with type 2 diabetes. It's also a useful resource for family members who may need help understanding their relative's condition.
Completing the course makes it easier for you to understand what to expect from your diabetes care. For example, you'll learn more about the NHS resources available to you and how you can access them.
The course also covers becoming more active, eating well, and looking after your body and mind. There's no time limit, so you can complete it at your own pace.
Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating provides courses that focus on minimizing the risk of long-term complications in patients with type 1 diabetes. You'll learn how to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range through healthy eating and taking the right insulin dose.
Courses are available remotely and on a face-to-face basis. DAFNE also offers training to healthcare professionals.
Many NHS trusts offer local courses with the providers above or through other programmes. Attending a local course allows you to meet other people with diabetes, making it easier for you to find a support network.
If you're interested in a local course, ask your specialist diabetes nurse or GP for advice. Attending a programme in your area will give you a greater insight into nearby available services.
Living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can have a profound impact on your life. As you learn to manage your symptoms, different types of food, and treatments such as insulin, you may need help in various areas.
Understanding your legal rights and how the NHS shapes its guidelines can make your life easier. This is especially true when it comes to navigating your role in the workplace and accessing certain services.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are classified as disabilities under the Equality Act. This means your employer must make reasonable workplace adjustments to accommodate your condition.
What a reasonable adjustment may look like varies according to your job and the nature of your condition. However, The Skills Network notes that employers may need to:
It's worth knowing that you're under no obligation to tell your employer that you have diabetes. However, doing so makes it easier for you to feel comfortable and minimises the potential hazards or issues in the workplace that could affect you.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is a government body that writes guidelines for various health conditions. Although their documents are designed for healthcare professionals, they're available online for anyone to access.
Understanding the NICE guidelines for people living with diabetes helps you know what to expect. It also makes it easier to identify whether you're receiving the right treatment or a good enough quality of care.
Some guidelines you may want to explore include:
Some guidelines cover the rationale for different treatment types, making it easier for you to understand why you're receiving your particular support package.
Living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can have a significant impact on your life. As such, understanding the resources available to you is important.
Most people with diabetes use the NHS for the majority of their treatment. A small number of private services are available, both through insurance and self-funded care.
Charities and community organizations act as essential lifelines for those who want to manage their symptoms and limit their risk factors. They also provide groups and educational resources while working towards a cure for the future.
At InsuJet, we want to make living with diabetes more comfortable. If your condition requires insulin management, you may benefit from our needleless injections. They're effective and comfortable, giving you the chance to manage your diabetes on your own terms.
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