Amongst these unprecedented times, like we always do, the Forth Valley Dietitians are striving to see the positive. We have taken this opportunity to think about how we can adapt our service to meet the increasing demand for virtual education and patient-clinician interaction.
Working predominantly within the Diabetes team, we initially focused our efforts on developing our service to support this patient group, who are considered vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We normally facilitate weekly group sessions for individuals who manage their diabetes with insulin therapy. The main aim of the group is to teach participants to manage their diabetes in a safe and flexible way through carbohydrate counting and insulin dose adjustment.
We were keen to provide an alternative resource for patients who were either booked into groups which had to be cancelled as the social distancing measures came into play, or who were on our waiting list so they could still receive education and support.
Conscious that due to the nature of our education we needed to ensure that patients fully grasped the concept of insulin dose adjustment, we decided to split our session. The initial being an online ‘webinar’ for participants to watch, complete the activities and learn at their own pace, with the follow-up session planned as a one-to-one NearMe Video call so we could discuss the nuances with participants in real time and answer any concerns.
We brainstormed ideas on how we could best provide a comprehensive session that could be easily understood and disseminated amongst our patient group. After some trial and error, we chose to record the education session using Microsoft Teams. As Microsoft Office 365 is being launched within NHS Scotland, we could take advantage of this user friendly platform at no extra cost. This was ideal as we started to realise the possibilities of how this new way to interact with our patients could be developed across the whole Diabetes Service, as well as within other areas of Dietetics where regular education groups are normally provided.
Luckily we already used a PowerPoint presentation which we adapted to suit our new format. Once we worked out how to share our screen and record our slides with narration, we quickly created our very own webinar! With help from our IT Webmaster, our webinar was made into an online video and added to the NHS Forth Valley Youtube channel and the Diabetes section of the NHS Forth Valley website.
We discussed how we could both quantitatively and qualitatively measure the impact of our new virtual service. Within the Microsoft Office 365 software we made a Quiz for our patients to complete once they have participated in the webinar. We hope to share some promising data with you in the coming months as we continue to adapt and develop to this new way of working. We encourage you to think about how your services can be diversified to meet the demands of what will likely be our new ‘normal’.
Forth Valley Diabetes Dietitians
Emma Kerr, Fiona Paterson, Kathryn Fraser, Lynsey Connor