DAFNE or Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating, is a relatively new way of managing type 1 diabetes and has been around for around 10 years or so.
DAFNE educates tupe 1 diabetics to adjust their insulin intake to the amount of carbohydrates that they eat, rather than the usual way of having your set amount of insulin and eating your set amount of carbs. So, DAFNE allows people to fit diabetes into their lifestyle, rather than changing their lifestyle to fit in with their diabetes. DAFNE is a relatively new project but graduates of DAFNE all agree that it has helped them to get their blood glucose levels controlled. DAFNE graduates recommend it to other diabetics with high or out of control blood glucose levels.
DAFNE is run in many countries including UK & Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore (OzDAFNE), Kuwait (DAFNE Kuwait). DAFNE also have trained healthcare professionals in South Africa, Spain and Nigeria, although these do not fly the DAFNE banner.
We will not go too deeply into the DAFNE insulin management techniques, as if you are interested, you will need to attend the course, as it is not as simple as it all may sound as you learn from hands on experience over the week course. During the week you practice the skills of carbohydrate estimation and insulin adjustment. participants are taught how to adjust, calculate and learn the basics of insulin management by the DAFNE trained educators. You are taught about food values and how to manage sick days, as most of us do not feel like eating while ill. they will teach you how to safely adjust both quick acting and background insulin to get the combination right while you attend the course.
Participants will attend the DAFNE course, which lasts a full 5 day week (Monday - Friday 9am till 5pm) in a group of about 6-8 other type 1 diabetics. The course has a full timetable and you will learn various aspects of diabetic management.
Topics covered during your DAFNE course:
• What is diabetes?
• Discussion of individual glucose levels
• Insulin action and techniques
• Eating out and alcohol
• Physical activity and exercise
• Goal settings
• DAFNE and food
• Principle of dose adjustment
• Sick day rules
• Diabetes control and targets
• Annual review and complications
• Questions for the consultant
• Evaluation and follow up arrangements
• Social aspects
• Estimating carbs
You will need to adjust your insulin while on the course to see what ratios are best for you and will keep daily records of your food and insulin intake, as well as any hypos or highs. The professionals will also advise you on adjustments to be made during the week. By the end of the course, you will feel confident enough to adjust the insulin and carbs yourself.
Most of the training is built around small group work, sharing and comparing experiences with other participants. However, there are opportunities for each person to speak to DAFNE Educators individually at any time.
The courses are very informative and everyone will learn something new during the week. It also gives you insight into other people’s situations and problems that they have come across during their time as a diabetic, which is really interesting to find that you are not alone.
There will be a follow up session (usually during a morning) about 8 weeks after graduation to see how you are getting along adjusting to your new regime. You will be given contact numbers and emails all along the course to contact the DAFNE trained educators, just in case you come across any problems, although most do self manage the adjustment perfectly well.
The aims are for you to have a normal life, be in full control of your blood glucose levels thus avoiding long term complications in later life.
How do I sign up?
There are many DAFNE courses around the world but please check your own location for courses.
In the UK alone, there are about 77 DAFNE centres that are run by the NHS and are usually located in many hospitals. Unfortunately, there are no private courses at this time. Employers usually have no problem with letting their diabetic workforce attend courses, as they see the benefits of letting a diabetic employee attend the course. A DAFNE employer letter that is available, stating these benefits
Who do I see about a DAFNE course?
Most GPs or physicians can arrange this for you and you can also see your diabetes consultant or nurse to discuss the availability of courses in your area. Information is also available from the official DAFNE website.