This Self Care Week (16-22 Nov), an annual awareness week to increase people’s ability to look after their own health and wellbeing, we are taking an indepth look at one of our 2019 cohorts Digibete, as they promote their support tool to help young people and families affected by Type 1 Diabetes.
Born out of founder Maddie Julien’s personal experience of being a mother of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, DigiBete is a digital platform that helps support children, young people and families to self-manage their own diabetes and includes educational resources and peer to peer support. DigiBete was created in partnership with Leeds Children’s Hospital and is now part-funded by the NHS Diabetes Programme.
The DigitBete journey accelerated when Maddie enrolled on our 2019 Propel@YH programme. Since completing the programme last year, DigiBete has become a vital support for families and new patients and has been adopted by 90% of paediatric clinics across England and Wales and is now being used in over 150 countries around the world.
In response to the pandemic and many clinics limiting the number of appointments available to patients, DigiBete has developed a digital peer support element on the app, to offer young people the much-needed support they require. New patients can be added to groups or teams, based on commonalities, which then allows them to have a more personalised support network.
The new support functionality has already played a key part in helping young people manage the condition through the pandemic, including Benji, 13. Benji was diagnosed when he was 9 years old. He is now 13 and is keen to inspire other young people living with the challenges of type 1 diabetes. Benji discussed his diagnosis: “Initially the GP mis-diagnosed me with depression. I’d been going to the doctors a lot because I was wetting the bed so much and I was losing weight. When I was actually diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I was so poorly that the ICU had to come down to me as I was going into organ failure”.
Like many young people living with Type 1 Diabetes, it’s been a really challenging journey for Benji, but he has found strength in his situation. He reflected: “DigiBete has helped me express my thoughts about being a teenager with Type 1 Diabetes. I also have a really great friend called Byron who features in my awareness video for World Diabetes Day and his Mum has Type 1 too so he knows how to help me”. Benji added that one real advantage of using the DigiBete platform is that he feels he “can open up, talk to anyone in my diabetes clinic and I feel part of the conversation”.
We spoke to Maddie Julien, founder of DigiBete about Self Care Week 2020: “No one could have predicted the wider implications that the pandemic could have on healthcare and wellbeing providers, so this year Self Care Week feels more important than ever.
“We are so pleased to offer this support element to our customers, as we know just how important having someone to talk to and answer any particular daunting questions someone might have about the journey of managing a Diabetes diagnosis”.
Keep up to date with DigiBete here: https://www.digibete.org/