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December 2016 New approaches needed for young adults with diabetes
New approaches in delivering care to young adults with type 1 diabetes are needed, according to researchers in Galway. A multi-disciplinary research team from NUI Galway and Galway University Hospitals have carried out a systematic review of international literature which has been published in the journal Diabetic Medicine.
The research, funded by the Health Research Board, highlighted a lack of high-quality, well-designed interventions, aimed at improving health outcomes for people aged 15-30 living with diabetes. This age group often experience poor outcomes because of issues with self-management skills, psychosocial distress, clinic attendance, adherence with treatment recommendations and high-risk behaviours.
Professor Seán Dinneen, HSE National Clinical Programme Lead for Diabetes, School of Medicine, NUI Galway and Consultant Physician, Galway University Hospitals, led the research. “Living with type 1 diabetes is demanding whatever your age. People need to adhere to a daily schedule of self-management by self-administering insulin several times a day for their entire life and monitor its effects through frequent (and often painful) self-monitoring of blood glucose levels. With young adults, there are so many pressure and life changes at this stage in their lives, that what works for an older adult simply does not work as well for them.”
Ireland has no diabetes registry making it difficult to know how many people are living with type 1 diabetes and how many of these have are young adults. The research group are now working to develop a new intervention for young adults, including a patient and public involvement panel of eight young adults living with the condition to co-design the research together.
25-year old Liam McMorrow is a young adult living type 1 diabetes, and was a collaborator on the study, and a member of the Steering Group. “It’s great to see researchers recognising the issues facing young adults living with type 1 diabetes are different to those faced by children or older adults living with type 1 diabetes. I think this is increasingly important as young adults may be most receptive to new interventions, for examples digital health interventions compared to other age groups. This study also highlights a lack of research in the area and demonstrates a clear need for further research to focus on this population. I’m excited to see the results from the ongoing work of the D1 now study in Galway.”
The importance of the systematic review has already been acknowledged at national and international conferences, the lead research of the review, Mary Clare O’Hara, won best poster at the 8th West of Ireland Integrated Diabetes Care Conference in 2015 and was awarded an oral presentation at the 51st European Association for the Study of Diabetes Scientific Meeting, a meeting that attracts about 16,000 delegates.
For more information on this study please contact MaryClare.OHara@hse.ie or 091 542840.