Background: Carbohydrate counting is a self-management tool that can improve blood glucose (BG) control for people with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM). At St Vincent’s, carbohydrate counting education was primarily provided by a Dietitian in the Young Adult Clinic (YAC) through an individualised consultation. In 2011-12, the waitlist to see a Dietitian in YAC averaged seven weeks. In an attempt to reduce the waitlist time for YAC, a pilot Carbohydrate Counting group workshop was implemented in May 2012, resulting in the completion of 5 group workshops over a 12 months period. Each workshop ran for 2 hours and included practical application of carbohydrate counting including weighing foods and calculating carbohydrate content. Each participant was offered a YAC follow up appointment to review their skills.
Aim: This study aimed to determine if the Carbohydrate Counting group workshop reduced waitlist time and was effective in improving participant knowledge.
Method: An anonymous evaluation questionnaire was provided to workshop participants pre and post completion of the workshop to assess change in diabetes and carbohydrate counting knowledge. YAC waitlist times were also reviewed.
Results: The questionnaire was completed by 16 of the 20 participants. All participants had an improvement in perceived confidence and independence in managing diabetes, and increased knowledge including identification of sources of carbohydrate and effect of alcohol on BG levels. Clinic waitlists in 2012-13 were reduced by one week with the average waitlist time of 6 weeks. It is estimated that 10 hours of clinic time was saved through conducting group workshops rather than individual consultations.
Conclusion: The pilot Carbohydrate Counting group workshop successfully reduced the YAC waitlist time and improved participant confidence and knowledge in the self-management of T1DM. It will be embedded into practice.