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2022 Remembered: A first for Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise as it offers a new program for those with Type 1 Diabetes


The Midland Regional Hospital (MRH) in Portlaoise is offering patients with type 1 diabetes a DAFNE (Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating) course.

It aims to teach participants how to manage their blood glucose levels by accurately calculating their insulin dose needs for meals, exercise and a changing lifestyle.

Lorraine Kelly, Senior Dietician at the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise says: “The DAFNE course teaches participants crucial diabetes-management skills.

“DAFNE has been shown to improve control of blood glucose and to reduce the incidence of acute complications of diabetes such as severe hypoglycaemia (82% reduction) and diabetic ketoacidosis (62% reduction).”

Regina Healion, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Diabetes at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise adds: “The Remote DAFNE course takes five weeks to complete and consists of pre and post-course appointments as well as online learning from home which participants can complete in their own time and at their own pace.

“There will also be weekly small group video support calls.”

The organisers hope that given the course is being run online it might fit in better with participants work and home commitments.

By the end of the year, the diabetes team in Portlaoise hope to offer a choice of remote or face to face DAFNE courses.

Dr John Connaughton, Clinical Director at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise says: “This is a very positive development for anyone with type 1 diabetes attending MRH Portlaoise.

“DAFNE allows patients to fit diabetes into their lives rather than fitting their lives into diabetes and in addition, it improves glycaemic control for them.”

Michael Knowles, General Manager of the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, says “I am delighted that we are now providing this well-structured course that allows people with type 1 diabetes to experience the incredible quality-of-life improvements reported by those in other countries who have attended DAFNE.”

Anyone aged over 17, under the care of the diabetes service at Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise, can register to attend the Remote DAFNE programme by letting their consultant, nurse or dietitian know.

With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes either very little or no insulin. Without this important hormone, blood glucose can’t get into cells to release energy and it then begins to build up in the bloodstream.

Without proper management this can have fatal consequences. This is why the DAFNE course is such an important tool for those with the condition.

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. Some people have certain genes that make them more likely to develop the illness, but thankfully many won’t go on to develop type 1 diabetes.

SEE ALSO – Check out all our 2022 Remembered stories here

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.