Family Support Weekend
A story by Diabetes UK Scotland
The Family Support Weekend took place at the Holiday Inn in Edinburgh from Friday 8th November to Sunday 10th November. 17 families with 25 children attended the weekend.
All children groups engaged in external sports and social activities, had structured teaching input and were given opportunities to learn practical management of diabetes by Health Care Professionals and from each other, under supervision.
Parents and carers had very wide-ranging information sessions on all aspects of diabetes management and many opportunities to share experiences and points of view, relevant to their personal circumstances. Opportunities were available for speaking to Health Care professionals on 1-1 basis
The events give the children the chance to take part in fun activities, meet other children with diabetes and develop their self confidence and independence. The families all learn more about management of diabetes encouraging children to gain the skills to self manage and helping parents develop the confidence to give their children more freedom.
Tip 1:A competent “management” Team of Volunteers who are motivated to provide a professional event relevant to the problems and expressed by their client group
Tip 2:Find out what people want / need. Don’t assume.
Tip 3:Find out participants expectations and if your event met their expectations. Continue to make improvements where possible as needs change
“We very much enjoyed the experience. It was very positive for my daughter to be among other people her age who had the same condition. She wasn’t sure if she wanted an Insulin Pump before we went, but came back very keen to have one! Five of the nine girls in their group were on insulin pumps and were happy to tell Rosie how great they are and show of their pretty covers and pump belts”
The knowledge that their children were enjoying themselves with trained volunteers and Health Care Professionals gave them the freedom to focus on their own needs as a carer.
“We all had a very enjoyable and hard-working time. We learned a lot of new things to help understand and manage Type 1, It was refreshing to be able to leave the children in safe hands and completely turn off my ‘high alert’ state of mind for the first time since Peter was diagnosed 2 years ago.”
Carers were also made aware of other areas of help that are available from Diabetes UK Scotland, such as the Careline, Diabetes UK family groups and children’s holidays.
"We met many parents who were feeling inadequate in managing diabetes and our support network has expanded because we have kept in touch since the event. We realised that other people stay quite near to us and we now contact each other regularly and share experiences and advice. The kids also learned from each other and they too have made friends."
Parents and carers have the opportunity to share stories with and learn from one another facilitated by trained Health Care Professionals - allowing them to learn to develop in their own confidence and understanding of managing a child with diabetes.
The Family Support Weekend provides a setting for parents and carers to receive emotional support and encourages the children to have a fun time with one another accessing activities that they may not otherwise have access to at the same time as learning more about diabetes in a relaxed environment
The improved understanding of diabetes management will help them avoid the devastating complications of diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation.
We had fewer applications from families than expected. We have had fewer applications for all our Events in 2013 than usual. We believe that the difficult financial climate is a factor in this despite our offers of advice and help with bursaries.
We are adapting the forms to ask more measurable questions in 2014. These will be more powerful, useful and comparable. Ideally we will be measuring impact of our events against famiiies expectations and knowledge before, during and after the event so we can get a better picture of how beneficial these events are.