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UPDATE: DAFNE has officially announced UHL as a DAFNE Centre

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DAFNEMidwest Diabetes Group pictured with Niall Collins TD

UPDATE: UHL has become the first DAFNE recognised DAFNE Centre in the Midwest
By I Love Limerick correspondent Ava O’Donoghue

DAFNE is delighted to officially announce UHL as a DAFNE Centre, making it the first in the Midwest.

DAFNE, standing for Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating will be able to help adults in the Midwest with type 1 diabetes lead as normal a life as possible whilst also maintaining blood glucose levels within health targets to reduce the risk of long-term complications.

The excitement for the new centre was shared by the Midwest Diabetes group that came together in 2019 to present a united advocacy effort to improve diabetes services across the Midwest.

In order to begin their journey, they had to prioritise their goals and the top of the list was structured diabetes education.

In 2019, the group started working on advocating for appropriate staffing for a DAFNE clinic to be introduced in Limerick. Through advocacy work with councillors, politicians, people with diabetes and stakeholders started to see a change in the resources available for those with diabetes.

UHL’s announcement of becoming a DAFNE Centre will mean that proper diabetes education will be available for people in the Midwest will have access to efficient education about how to manage their condition to suit their lifestyle and needs.

“We are so thrilled with this news and would like to thank absolutely everyone who has helped us to come this far. We will try to include everyone below and apologies if we forget someone. You are all amazing,” The Midwest Diabetes Group shared their happiness towards the announcement.

“There is still quite the journey to go and our work is not finished, but this is definitely an occasion to celebrate.”

(26/5/2022) DAFNE (Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating) is the cornerstone of good diabetes management

DAFNE teaches adults with type 1 diabetes, how to adjust their insulin doses to better match what each individual needs.
DAFNE teaches adults with Type 1 diabetes to adjust their insulin doses to better match what each individual needs.

University Hospital Limerick now has recruited all necessary staff to provide carbohydrate counting education (DAFNE) to people with diabetes, however, there is no timeline as to its implementation. At the full council meeting, Councillor Elisa O Donovan put forward a motion requesting a timeline for the implementation of DAFNE in UHL so that this education may be provided to those living with diabetes in the Mid West Region.

Councillor O’ Donovan proposed a motion for the council to write to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, asking for an estimated timeline of when UL Hospitals Group will become an accredited DAFNE centre and when the first DAFNE training will be provided to staff and to people with diabetes at a Limerick City and Council meeting. The motion was seconded by Councillor Conor Sheahan who stated, “The keyword is ‘when’… when is this actually going to happen?”

Specialist education for adults with Type 1 diabetes known as DAFNE (Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating) is the cornerstone of good diabetes management. The DAFNE programme was piloted at six sites in Ireland in 2006 and in 2021, expanded to 12 diabetes centres with UL hospitals group being the only group excluded from the expansion, citing lack of staff as the barrier. Councillor Dan McSweeney noted that, “Unfortunately, people with diabetes have had to travel far to get proper treatment. So, it’s important that we make this investment in UHL for those that are affected by diabetes”.

Currently, many of the HSE’s hospital groups have two or more DAFNE centres. In 2018, the HSE’s national clinical guidelines recommended DAFNE as standard care for adults with type 1 diabetes. Many Hospitals Groups now have two DAFNE centres, Ireland East Hospital Group has five DAFNE Centres, RCSI Hospital group have four, and both South-Southwest and Saolta Hospitals groups have two centres. Dublin Midlands Hospital Group has a centre coming up onstream later this year leaving UL Hospitals group the only one without any DAFNE centre. 

The barrier to offering the DAFNE programme to people with diabetes stated by UL Hospitals Groups in 2019 was the lack of specialist staff, this barrier has now been removed. Since December 2020, there have been 12 posts approved for the Outpatient Adult Diabetes Clinic in the UL Hospitals Groups, and as of January 2022, there are two Consultant Endocrinologists, three dietitians, and six Clinical Nurse Specialists in place, with three staff nurses and two more endocrinologists due to take up post shortly.

Councillor Tom Ruddle stated that, “It’s so important that something like this could be set up in the hospital” and the importance of this programme cannot be understated. People with type 1 diabetes must inject the appropriate amount of insulin every time they eat to maintain glucose levels in a healthy range as our needs fluctuate every single day. DAFNE teaches adults with type 1 diabetes, how to adjust their insulin doses to better match what each individual needs. People with diabetes attending the outpatients’ diabetes clinics in Ennis, Limerick and Nenagh deserve a timeline on when to expect initiation of the programme. 

For more information about the Mid West Diabetes Advocacy group go HERE 

For more health stories, go HERE

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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