Structured education provision in the UK is patchy as is take up. Approximately 6% eligible people take up structured education despite proven benefits. There are many reasons for this including cost, accessibility, lack of awareness, difficulty with taking time off work and childcare etc.
We have provided a free online platform offering structured education which mirrors exactly the evidence based Bertie course devised by Royal Bournemouth Hospital. (www.bertieonline.org.uk)
The site can be accessed by anyone, anywhere at anytime with internet access on both PC and mobile devices. It offers education divided into 3 modules with activities, questions, text, videos and blogs.
Completion of the course will generate a certificate of completion. This is the only online curriculum based educational platform available in the UK for type 1 diabetes.
In addition we have added 2 additional sites – Streetwise (www.bertie-streetwise.org.uk) aimed at young adults and teenagers with type 1 diabetes to allow them to look into aspects of diabetes care in their own time.
Within diabetes care it is notoriously difficult to engage with this cohort of young adults and it is typically a time of difficult diabetes management and psychological distress. We have particularly tackled 9 areas difficult to discuss with healthcare professionals such as alcohol, sex, body piercings and drugs. We have used educational theory to try and engage with young adults in 3 ways. Firstly, by offering information in a text and pictorial mode to read and assimilate.
Second by posing typical scenarios and asking “What would you do” for each of the areas.
Thirdly we have offered an area for people to “Share their experience” with others to offer peer to peer support online.
The other area is Lifewise- tackling issues such as pregnancy, the psychology of diabetes and getting older with diabetes and end of life care. Again we have used the same 3 educational theories for people to work through the various topics.
The ultimate aim of the website is to make education more accessible to anyone with type 1 diabetes. We have interlinked and signposted each area to the educational modules with encouragement to undertake the full course.
We worked with our local type 1 diabetes population at Royal Bournemouth Hospital and with the Diabetes Online Community (#DOC) in order to devise a platform that people with type 1 diabetes would want to work with and what they would find useful. Governance is provided by the Bertie educational team at Royal Bournemouth hospital who are responsible for updating the website annually.
We have provided a mechanism to report and remove inappropriate posts and all posts added to Streetwise and Lifewise are copied to a Consultant in Diabetes at Royal Bournemouth Hospital so insure validity.