People living with Type 2 diabetes across the UK have been unable to access vital support because of COVID-19 restrictions, despite accounting for 31% of COVID related hospital deaths. As a result, people with and at risk of diabetes are sourcing the support of digital tools like MyDESMOND to help them self-manage their symptoms.
NHS England data revealed that one in four people (26%) who have died in hospital in England following a COVID-19 diagnosis also had diabetes.1 But with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions making it more difficult for people to access the care they need, diabetes patients are being empowered to self-manage their condition with the help of online tools.
To support patients, Leicester Diabetes Centre granted free access to their MyDESMOND type 2 diabetes management and prevention platform for new users within areas of the UK not normally covered by their diabetes education programme MyDESMOND. The site has seen an increase of over 400% since the UK went into lockdown in March, highlighting the scale of need for systems like it. Three programmes are currently available on the platform: 1) Type 2 diabetes – for those with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, 2) Lets Prevent Diabetes – for those at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future, and 3) Babysteps – for women with a previous gestational diabetes diagnosis.
A recent user survey by the MyDESMOND team found that 80% of platform users better understood their condition because of the resources available. 60% have become more active as a result, and 64% have made dietary changes.2 These self-managing behaviours are correlated with better long term outcomes for diabetes patients.
A MyDESMOND forum user commented: “When I was diagnosed I felt lost and alone. Everywhere was on lockdown and I couldn’t get any help. My dietitian’s appointment was just a five minute phone call. MyDESMOND has helped me immensely.”
Alison Northern, Implementation Manager, LDC said “We have seen a four-fold increase in active users on the site since the UK went into lockdown back in March, and this is down to the hard-work and dedication of MyDESMOND Providers and Diabetes Teams from across the UK to ensure that despite being faced with a national pandemic, patients’ needs were still being met.”
The survey2 carried out showed the following:
|Better understood their condition||80% Yes|
|The information was presented clearly and concisely||92% Agree/strongly agree|
|Do you feel that programme was easy to use?||84% Agree/strongly agree|
|I enjoyed using this programme||83% Agree/strongly agree|
|How valuable was the information?||82% Valuable/Extremely valuable|
|The programme was easy to navigate||86% Agree/strongly agree|
|Become more active||60% Yes|
|Change my diet||64% Yes|
|Would you recommend this online programme to others?||82% yes|
If you would like further information about offering MyDESMOND to your patients please email myDESMOND@uhl-tr.nhs.uk
1 NHS England data published 27th May 2020
2 MyDESMOND user feedback survey