DAFNE stands for Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating.
The DAFNE course is for adults (over 17 years old) with type 1 diabetes and is a comprehensive and often life-changing experience. It is far more than a carbohydrate counting programme, although learning and refining the skills necessary to count the carbohydrate in each meal and to inject the right dose of insulin are an important part of the course.
DAFNE aims to help adults with type 1 diabetes lead as normal a life as possible, whilst also maintaining blood glucose levels within healthy targets, to reduce the risk of long-term diabetes complications.
There are different ways in which you can complete a DAFNE course, either on a face-to-face DAFNE course or a Remote DAFNE course – a blend of online learning with virtual group sessions.
Face to face course: On a face-to-face course, you will attend a 5-day training course (either Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, or one day per week for 5 weeks), with a follow-up session around eight weeks after the course. There are sessions on managing insulin around exercise, around illness, and around social activities including drinking alcohol. This is why the course might be longer than other ‘self-management’ training you might have heard of.
The face-to-face course is delivered to groups of six to eight participants under the supervision of DAFNE-trained educators (who are specially trained NHS diabetes specialist nurses and dietitians).
Remote DAFNE course: These were created in response to changes in diabetes services as a result of the Covid-19 requirement for shielding and social distancing. It is also an option for people who feel that a face-to-face course is not for them. Remote DAFNE courses enable you to learn at home; fitting around your work and home commitments. The Remote DAFNE course will take 5 weeks to complete. It includes online learning from home each week and weekly group video support calls with up to 4 other participants and a trained Remote DAFNE educator.
The DAFNE course, in whichever format, is about learning from experience, trying new things under supervision and benefiting from the support of other people on your course. During the course you practise the skills of carbohydrate counting and insulin adjustment around lifestyle activities.
Your local DAFNE team can provide you with a letter for your employer explaining why you should be given paid time off work (as a health-related absence) because attending DAFNE could be one of the most beneficial things you ever get the chance to participate in from the point of view of your diabetes management.
DAFNE allows you to fit diabetes into your lifestyle, rather than changing your lifestyle to fit in with your diabetes. We are passionate about DAFNE and the healthcare professionals involved in delivering it often say this is the most worthwhile part of their job.