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New guide on diabetes and emotional health for nursing staff

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The charity Diabetes UK has launched a new guide that is designed to help healthcare professionals support the emotional needs of adult patients with diabetes.

It noted that diabetes was more than a physical condition because the relentless need for self-management could have a profound impact on emotional health.

“It will be invaluable in supporting healthcare professionals to provide holistic care”

Libby Dowling

For example, monitoring blood glucose, injecting insulin, taking medications and constantly following a healthy diet was “tough” on diabetes patients, leading to emotional health problems.

The new guide is called Diabetes and emotional health − a practical guide for health professionals supporting adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

It was originally published by the National Diabetes Services Scheme in Australia and authored by a team of healthcare professionals specialising in psychology and diabetes.

It has been adapted for a UK audience by an equivalent expert group of UK clinicians, said Diabetes UK.

The charity noted that it had dedicated chapters on common emotional issues that patients might experience, such as eating problems, depression, anxiety disorders, fear of hypos and diabetes distress.

The guide also offers strategies and tools for how to recognise emotional problems and start conversations to address them, as well as for providing the right support, using consultation time more effectively and knowing when to refer on.

It was designed on the premise that when healthcare professionals take someone’s emotional needs into account, diabetes management improves, because the emotional and physical aspects of diabetes management cannot be separated.

Libby Dowling, senior clinical advisor at Diabetes UK, said: “Looking after the emotional needs of people living with diabetes is as important as caring for their physical needs, but for many healthcare professionals starting those conversations isn’t easy.

“This resource has been created to help them feel more confident to discuss emotional needs during consultation time, provide support or refer to the right type of support when needed,” she said.

She added: “It will be invaluable in supporting healthcare professionals to provide holistic care to adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.”

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