A preliminary evaluation of a novel education model for young people with Type 1 diabetes: the Youth Empowerment Skills programme

Dulmini Kariyawasam, Darren Marsh, Siobhan Pender, Marie Jones, Rebecca Rogers, Simon Chapman, Stephanie Singham, Stephanie Lamb, Rahila Bhatti, Suzannah Walker, Judith Parsons, Rita Forde, Angus Forbes

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Background: Adolescence is a challenging time for young people with Type 1 diabetes, associated with worsening glycaemia and disengagement with care. To improve support, we co-designed with young people a novel psychosocially modelled programme of diabetes education (the Youth Empowerment Skills [YES] programme). This study aimed to estimate the clinical impact and feasibility (recruitment, retention and participant experiences) of this programme.
Methods: A pilot study using mixed-methods was conducted to assess process and outcomes, involving a preand post-exposure assessment of glycaemic control, programme participation data, service utilisation and qualitative semi-structured interviews (analysed using Framework Analysis). Participants were recruited from
two hospital diabetes centres in Southeast London. The intervention was conducted in local community centres. Participants were young people with Type 1 diabetes aged 15–21 years. The YES programme involves contact with an outreach youth worker and attending a 3-day psychologically modelled course encompassing
social learning, peer facilitation and simulation exercises. The primary outcome was change in HbA1c at 6 and 12-months post-intervention. Secondary outcomes included diabetes-related hospital admissions and incident diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Results: Twenty-six young people participated in the programme, mean age 18 (±1.7) years. Uptake was 34% (n = 26) of those approached, with 96% (n = 25) programme completion. Pre-exposure (12 month mean) HbA1c was 93.5 (±29.7) mmol/mol (10.7%), and at 12 months post-exposure, it was 85.1 (±25.4) mmol/mol (10%) (P = 0.01), with 46% (n = 12) of participants achieving a reduction in their HbA1c ≥5.5 mmol/mol (0.5%). Unplanned hospital admissions and DKA rates reduced by 38 and 30%, respectively. The qualitative data identified positive psychosocial impacts including increased diabetes engagement and activation. Active ingredients were social learning, peer support and experiential learning. Participants emphasised the importance of the youth worker in engaging with the programme.
Conclusion: The evaluation indicates that the YES programme helps improve young people’s self-confidence in managing diabetes, enhances diabetes engagement and improves clinical outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Diabetes Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Patient education
  • Evaluation Studies


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