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24 June 2017

News from Europe

A family affair: prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of type 2 diabetes

familyhomeLike any chronic disease, diabetes has an impact on the family of the person who lives with the condition. Several studies have also shown that people who receive adequate family support were more likely to better manage their diabetes and avoid complications.
 
The Danish Diabetes Association has launched a new pilot project called PIFT ("Involvement, Prevention and Screening in Families with Type 2 Diabetes"), which will look to target the whole family in the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of people living with type 2 diabetes. The project, run in partnership with the region of Southern Denmark and the capital region of Denmark, the Steno Diabetes Center, Health Promotion Research and with the support of the Danish Ministry of Health, was launched end of 2014 and will last 3 years. 

“Family members also have to carry the burden of diabetes and it does have a considerable impact on daily life”, says Tue Helms Andersen, project manager of PIFT. “As type 2 diabetes is also highly hereditary, it makes sense to adopt a family-oriented approach rather than just focusing on the individual living with the condition. Beyond improving diabetes management, this allows us to look at prevention and early diagnosis amongst other family members.”

The project also aims at tackling health inequalities by offering support and building knowledge in families with less financial resources and which have more difficulties in accessing diabetes education.

The different partners in PIFT will join forces to develop educational models and tools targeting people with type 2 diabetes and their families, but also healthcare professionals. “We also want to educate healthcare professionals and give them the tools for involving family members as early as possible in diabetes education and care”, adds Tue.

Currently, the educational material is being developed, while the first workshops involving people with type 2 diabetes and their families will be held in April 2015. People with diabetes, family members and healthcare professionals will all take part in developing and testing the tools and interventions that are going to be put in place.

“Our ultimate goal is to make family members an integral part of diabetes care, and show that both family members and the person with diabetes benefit from it”, concludes Tue. “We also hope that this will help prevent close family members to develop type 2 diabetes in the future.”

For more information about the project, click here