DAFNE stands for Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating. It 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.
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.
You will attend a five-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-managment’ training you might have heard of.
The structured teaching programme 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). Many services can offer DAFNE one day a week over five weeks as an alternative to a Monday-Friday course.
The DAFNE course is about learning from experience, trying new things under supervision, and benefiting from the support of other people on the course with you. During the week you practise the skills of carbohydrate counting and insulin adjustment around lifestyle activities.
The 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.