From November 2018 to June 2023, The Peer Partnership worked with Bristol Community Heath and Sirona care and health to provide one-to-one peer support for people either newly diagnosed or finding it difficult to manage with their type 2 diabetes.
The program matched people with trained peer volunteers, also living with type 2 diabetes, to provide them with lived experience support, motivation, and encouragement to overcome the barriers and obstacles of managing a long term health condition.
With 5.7% of Bristol’s adult population living with type 2 diabetes, there are almost 27,000 people trying to manage the condition in the city. A significant proportion of NHS capacity and finances are taken up with managing the impacts of type 2 diabetes. Each person with type 2 diabetes spends an average of 3 hours with a healthcare professional (HCP) per year, equating to 80,370 hours of HCP time In Bristol annually. Estimates suggest £1.00 In every £10.00 of NHS funds are spent on providing diabetes healthcare, with high costs primarily taken up with poorly managed diabetes complications. To reduce clinician time and capacity expenditure, and to reduce the costs of poor diabetes management, new, alternative, person-centred, and educational programmes need to be trialled to meet the diverse needs of people and communities living with T2D.
Our programme enabled those needing extra support to increase their knowledge, confidence, and ability to manage their type 2 diabetes. Meeting with a peer mentor, time and space was provided for people to be able to explore the barriers that they may have previously faced in putting advice and management strategies in action.
Our type 2 diabetes volunteer mentors could spend an hour a week for up to 4 months, discussing and sharing experiences of condition management, and supporting people struggling with the condition to identify goals, plan strategies, and discuss progress with empathy, understanding, and the full knowledge of how difficult it can be to implement change.
How we measured success
The program used Patient Activation Measures (PAMs) as the outcome framework. PAMs is designed to assess the level of engagement an individual has with their health condition. It measures from the lowest level of being disengaged and overwhelmed to a highest level of maintaining positive behaviours and going further.
Patients with low activation are less likely to know how to treat or manage their health condition, and 3 times as likely to have unmet needs than those who are highly activated.
Higher activation leads to improved attendance and adherence with medical care and better communication and trust between patients and health care professionals.
Outcomes of the program are outlined below:
The proportion of people on PAMs levels 3 & 4 increased from 42% to 84%
The proportion of people taking action, gaining control and maintaining behaviours increased from 40% to 89%
There was a 73% reduction of participants feeling disengaged, overwhelmed, or struggling with their type 2 diabetes management.
We also requested feedback from participants in how they felt about their own confidence in living with type 2 diabetes.
Developing peer support in Type 2 Diabetes
Following our successful peer support program in type 2 diabetes, we are now supporting other health and voluntary sector partners to implement this model into their services.
If you are interested in discussing how you or your organisation might start peer support for people living with type 2 diabetes in your area, please contact us at email@example.com, or call on 01179555038.
Our type 2 diabetes one-to-one peer support service ended on the 30th June 2023.
If you have type 2 diabetes, live in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area and need support please contact Diabetes UK
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