Effective communication is a core component of the management of type 1 diabetes. It is not just about being nice or ensuring patient satisfaction;rather, it is also a key determinant of metabolic, behavioural and psychological outcomes.1,2 Despite the importance of communication in diabetes care, health professionals have traditionally received little formal training in this area. The recently launched resource, “Enhancing your consulting skills: supporting self-management and optimising mental health in people who have type 1 diabetes”,3 was specifically designed for endocrinology trainees and other interested health professionals to address this training gap. This symposium will provide an overview of the resource by focussing on three of its core components and will conclude with a multi-disciplinary panel discussion.
1. The consumer perspective
To deliver effective care, diabetes health professionals need to have an understanding of the experience of living with type 1 diabetes, the crucial role of language, and the importance of being non-judgemental. They also need to understand the role of social media and peer support organisations used by people with type 1 diabetes. This segment will highlight what people with type 1 diabetes would like their health professionals to know and how health professionals can incorporate this information into their consultations.
2. Consulting skills for supporting self-management
Being able to support self-management in type 1 diabetes is a key proficiency for diabetes health professionals. This proficiency is not necessarily intuitive and an evidence-base exists that can underpin skills development in this area. This segment will outline approaches to collaborative care and behaviour change support. It will include a demonstration of effective communication techniques, focussing on conversations about problem-solving around blood glucose levels.
3. Consulting skills for optimising mental health
It is well documented that the prevalence of a range of mental health issues is increased in people with type 1 diabetes, especially depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Being able to identify and respond to such issues when they arise within consultations is a key responsibility of diabetes health professionals. This segment will discuss the consulting skills required to help optimise mental health in people with type 1 diabetes, including identifying the signs that can indicate the presence of an underlying mental health issue, addressing counter-transference, developing plans for effective team care and making referrals to mental health professionals, especially liaison psychiatry services.
This resource is an Australian Diabetes Society project that has been funded under the National Diabetes Services Scheme.