Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME)

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) recognizes the critical importance of diabetes self-management education (DSME) as a fundamental right of everyone with diabetes and should be available and accessible to all [1]. People who are diagnosed with diabetes should receive formal diabetes education either at diagnosis or within 6-12 months of diagnosis[2]. Despite these recommendations, it is estimated that 50-80% of people with diabetes do not have the appropriate knowledge or skills to help them self-manage their diabetes effectively and successfully[3].

The goal of DSME is to ensure that a person with diabetes:

  • can make informed decisions about their health
  • deal with the day-to-day demands of living with a chronic condition
  • reduce the burden of diabetes on individuals, family and friends so as to improve good health outcomes and reduce the risk of long-term complications that are associated with diabetes

international_standards_for_diabetes_education_EN“All people with diabetes and those at risk of diabetes, no matter where they live, have the right to learn about diabetes, how it can be prevented, how it can be managed effectively and how to access educational and clinical resources”

(Position Statement on DSME from International Diabetes Federation)

At Diabetes Insight/Helena Farrell Consultancy we specialize in Diabetes Self-Management Education, delivering high quality, effective education in a safe environment which you can trust.

“Every person with diabetes, no matter where they live in the world, deserves access to high quality education delivered by skilled professionals”

Marg McGill (Former Chairperson of IDF DECS 2000-2009)

We follow standards and guidelines from the International Diabetes Federation, American Diabetes Association (ADA) and NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) so as to ensure the quality of education provided is evidence based and meets with best practice. Some of these guidelines can be found by clicking on the following links.




What does Diabetes Self-Management Education Involve?

As a member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), Diabetes Insight/Helena Farrell Consultancy acknowledges what they believe to be the 7 key behaviours for DSME [4]. They are as follows:

AADE Diabetes Self-Care Behaviours

  •  Healthy eating 
  •  Being active
  •  Monitoring
  •  Taking medication
  •  Problem solving
  •  Healthy coping
  •  Reducing risks

As part of our diabetes programmes, we work with developing these behaviours to ensure that individuals are confident when self-managing their diabetes. We use a one-to-one approach when dealing with individuals who attend for DSME, which ensures that a persons specific areas of concern or distress in relation to their diabetes & health are targeted and a plan is set in place to help them deal effectively with the situation.

Benefits of Diabetes Self-Management Education

  • Individualized assessment & education
  • Encourage family involvement, family members are welcome to attend programmes
  • Helps lower blood sugar levels as well as HbA1c, blood pressure, cholesterol and weight
  • Reduces risk of long-term complications
  • Reduces medical care costs

Diabetes educators provide:

  • Assessment of educational needs
  • Assessment of current lab values
  • An overview of diabetes and how your body works
  • Assistance with patient designed self-management goals
  • Self-monitoring and use of the results
  • Individualized meal planning
  • Medication teaching and insulin administration instruction*
  • Exercise and activity recommendations
  • Education regarding prevention and management of acute and chronic complications
  • Foot and skin care guidelines
  • The signs, symptoms and treatment of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • Sick day guidelines
  • Pre-pregnancy planning

*Disclaimer: It is our policy at Diabetes Insight/Helena Farrell Consultancy that we do make specific judgements or comments on an individual’s medication/insulin regime. All issues, concerns or problems that a client may have with their current regimes and verbalise to us, they will automatically be prompted/advised/instructed to contact their GP/Diabetes team immediately. All clients are requested to provide a list of their current medication regime so as to explain the action, timing, benefits and how to reduce the side effects of medications/insulin to those who do attend our service. This complies with best practice and has shown to improve adherence to regimes [5], therefore improving overall glycaemic control [6].

Further Information

Further information on our services can be sought by contacting the founder and director of Diabetes Insight/Helena Farrell Consultancy;

Helena Farrell RGN, MSc Diabetes at (086) 1739287 or email: hfarrell77@gmail.com




[2] http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qualitystandards/diabetesinadults/structurededucation.jsp

[3] Annaswamy R, Gomes H, Beard JO, MacDonald P, Colin PR. Arch Intern Med. 2002;162:1301-04


[5] Rubin, Richard R. “Adherence to pharmacologic therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.” The American journal of medicine 118.5 (2005): 27-34.

[6] Rhee, Mary K., et al. “Patient adherence improves glycemic control.” The Diabetes Educator 31.2 (2005): 240-250.



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