Praise for paediatric diabetes team 

14/01/2014 00:00 
The paediatric psychology team are finalists in the 2013 Quality in Care Awards for their innovative workshops which help teenagers come to terms with diabetes.

The 'Tree of Life' events give young patients the time and space to talk about the impact that the condition has had on their life and help them cope with the diagnosis. The roots represent their ‘roots’, culture, family history; the trunk their skills and abilities, the leaves significant people in their lives. An interviewer then asks young people to tell their story using their tree drawing.

Consultant clinical psychologist Deborah Christie said: "Diabetes dominates the lives of teenagers and can take over their identity leaving them feeling disconnected from family and friends. This gives young people the chance to meet together to build strength and resilience, share their knowledge and experiences. The ‘Tree of Life’ acts as a metaphor for them to tell stories of their daily lives, abilities, hopes and dreams.

"Evaluation has been extremely positive. Young people describe the day as having helped them to develop positive views of themselves and feel less isolated by connecting, learning from and sharing knowledge with others living with diabetes."

The winning team are comprised of clinical psychologists Deborah Christie, Lucy Casdagli, Dr Glenda Fredman and assistant clinical psychologist Isabella Girling. So far, 28 young people have benefited from the workshops. They were referred by the diabetes team at UCLH.

Thirteen year old Jessica Burton says the Tree of Life helped her come to terms with her condition.

She said: "It helped to meet other people my age with diabetes who are having similar thoughts to me. With my other diabetic friends I don’t really discuss diabetes but in the Tree of Life it was ok to do that.

"I still don’t like or want diabetes but the Tree of Life helped me realise that I wasn’t all just about diabetes and behind the diabetes there is just me, a normal teen."
Jessica from Sussex is now training to be a trainer to help other young people with diabetes.

The awards are organised by QiC Diabetes which recognises, rewards and shares good practice in diabetes management, education and patient care.

Our UCLH team have been chosen as a finalist under the award category "best initiative supporting a positive patient experience and equality of care in ' hard to reach' groups".

The programme is supported by the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists, Diabetes UK, NHS Diabetes, Primary Care Diabetes Society, Training Research and Education for Nurses in Diabetes and the Young Diabetologists and Endocrinologists' Forum.

QiC estimated that there are 3.8 million people in the UK with diabetes, including an estimated 850,000 people who have type 2 diabetes but do not know it.

Meet the children and young patients diabetes team How to guides for children and young patients diabetes service Read our childrens diabetes blog Find out how you can get involved in our clinical research trialsVisit our homepage for children and young patients Carbs and calories counter

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