Happy birthday DAFNEplus!

Today we celebrate the 1st birthday of the DAFNEplus project! So we thought it would be timely to take stock of our progress and how things have been developing over the past year. We previously wrote a blog at six months into the programme, please take a look here if you wish to read our full story, but more recently we have been busy with the following:


Identifying how and why the DAFNE course needs to change

The team at University College London have been busy completing the Delphi exercise, working with people with type 1 diabetes, DAFNE educators, clinicians and other behavioural scientists to agree how the course will be updated and be converted into DAFNEplus. In addition to this, they have developed a behavioural model for self-management of this condition, and a detailed behavioural analysis to map this to COM-B model. The psychologists and educators have worked closely throughout to agree the new structure of the course and the programme as a whole; updating existing sessions and developing the materials for new sessions.


In parallel to this, our clinical psychologist, Dr Nicole de Zoysa from King’s College Hospital, has been developing plans for the DAFNEplus training to support staff in delivering the new intervention. Again, collaboration has been key and Nicole has worked closely with the DAFNE educators to agree the types of training needed.


Longer term support and technological support

The DAFNEplus team have also been working on the new components of DAFNEplus to develop the model of structured follow-up support after the course, and the technology which is part of the new intervention. We’ve already completed several rounds of user feedback by testing out the technology and follow-up appointments in two NHS centres, and used the feedback from HCPs and patients to further develop and refine these parts of DAFNEplus. Our health economists have also been working hard to develop their plans for the analysis for the pilot study.


The patient perspective

We’ve set up patient advisory groups in Sheffield and London and they’ve made a great contribution so far in feeding in the development of the behavioural models and plans for the content of the DAFNEplus intervention. Our work to establish a wider user group is ongoing and we have been working with the DAFNE Users Advisory Group and local diabetes groups in Sheffield, such as Diabetes UK and the LADDER panel (Lay Advice on Diabetes and Endocrine Research) at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Thanks to everybody who has helped us so far, your input is invaluable to us.


Pilot study preparation

In parallel to this, the team have been setting up the pilot study and taking this through the usual NHS governance procedures – Research Ethics Committee and the Health Research Authority, and the local approval processes at each centre. Staff at the Clinical Trials Research Unit have been getting everything ready from a research point of view for our first pilot course in April this year.


Where do we go from here?

We will train our DAFNEplus educators in March and run our first pilot course in April. Throughout the next year, we will run a number of pilot courses and evaluate the experiences of patients and educators in taking part and delivering DAFNEplus. After all this hard work in the past twelve months, we are really keen to move on to the next stage and see what people think! We will continue to work together closely, using the feedback to refine and update the intervention to get it in a good shape for the bigger trial in 2018.

Building on existing dissemination activity, we are starting to write up the fruits of our labour from year 1 of the grant.

We will also be reaching out the wider DAFNE community to recruit our centres for the trial we plan to run in 2018. If you work in a DAFNE centre and you are interested in taking part in the trial, please contact me directly (e.coates@sheffield.ac.uk or 0114 222 0886).


And finally, big thanks to everyone on our big research team and all of the people who have taken part in our studies so far!


Lizzie Coates, DAFNEplus Programme Manager


Image credits

April by CC 2.0