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Guide to Diabetes

DAFNE Type 1 Diabetes Education
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DAFNE (Stands for Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating) -Type 1 Diabetes Education

is a group education programme for people with Type 1 diabetes.

Traditionally DAFNE is run over a
5 day period and now over 5 x1 days. You may need to take time off work to do the course. However we can provide a letter of explanation for your employer.

Structured Education is now seen as part of routine diabetes care. The government recommends that everyone with diabetes should have access to this type of structured education through the NHS. 

DAFNE in Leicestershire

549 people with Type1 diabetes are now DAFNE trained, 76 courses delivered so far, 18 courses planned each year, funded by PCT’s, we also run information Evenings- invitation following referral by HCP, Refresher Sessions

The Leicester DAFNE (Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating) Programme commenced in June 2002, and around 800 people with Type 1 Diabetes have benefited from attending a one week course. DAFNE Educators deliver new onset Type 1 Diabetes group sessions for people recently diagnosed. The course provides a structured education on living with Type 1 Diabetes, and how to get the best out of a basal bolus insulin regimen, being based on carbohydrate counting and variable insulin dosing.
Over the past 12 years, the management of Type 1 Diabetes has been transformed in Leicester by the development of the DAFNE Programme, and the feedback from graduates has been overwhelmingly positive.

Eduction room at uHl


Benefits of DAFNE include:

  • long-term improved diabetes control
  • a more than halving of severe hypoglycaemia
  • substantial weight loss in some people
  • improved well-being
  • treatment satisfaction

Download the DAFNE Patient information leaflet

DAFNE allows people to fit diabetes into their lifestyle, rather than changing their lifestyle to fit in with their diabetes.

DAFNE Courses

The UHL DAFNE Team have run 18 courses per year over recent years, in both Leicester City, and the County, and regular courses are run at the Braunstone Centre, as well as at The Leicester Hospitals.

What does it involve?

  • Attend a 5 day training course (9am – 5pm Monday to Friday). With around 7 other people with type 1 diabetes
  • A follow up session around 8 weeks after the course
  • Yearly half day top up sessions.
  • It is by invitation only, so please speak to you diabetes team or you can request a referral via your GP.

The structured teaching programme covers topics including:

  • Carbohydrate estimation
  • Blood glucose and ketone monitoring
  • Insulin regimens
  • Eating out
  • Reading Food labels
  • Hypos
  • Illness
  • Exercise

DAFNE is recognised by NICE as the gold standard education programme for people with Type 1 Diabetes, and locally we encourage people to attend a course at the end of the ‘honeymoon phase’, which is usually about one year post initial diagnosis.

Training Method

The DAFNE course is about learning from experience. During the week you practice the skills of carbohydrate estimation and Insulin adjustment under the supervision of DAFNE- trained nurses and dietitians. Most of the training is built around group work, sharing and comparing experiences with other people with Type 1 diabetes. However, there are opportunities for each person to speak to a doctor, nurse or dietitian individually.

Who can participate in the DAFNE Programme?

  • If you have Type 1 Diabetes for at least 6 months
  • are over 17 years of age
  • have a HbA1C less than 12%
  • wish to improve diabetes control
  • are willing to inject and test at least 5 times a day
  • able to attend a 5 day course





”Everyone should be given the opportunity to do this”

“It’s given me the real reason for doing blood tests!”

“How have I managed to survive before this week?”
“ I have realised how haphazard things have been since I was first diagnosed”

“I understand WHAT I am controlling”

“I’ve learned such a lot in a short space of time and had a bit of a laugh as well”

“At last I now have the freedom to choose”

See DAFNE Blog - By Andy Broomhead


If you are eligible and are interested for details contact Liz Turrell alternatively speak to a member of your diabetes team for a referral. You will then be sent an invite. There are information evenings held throughout the year.

Liz Turrell - Diabetes Education Administrator
Diabetes Out-Patients Department
Leicester General Hospital
Gwendolen Road
Leicester LE5 4PW
Tel: 0116 2585158 Fax: 0116 2733067



DAFNE Graduates Blood Glucose Monitoring and DAFNE

People with Type 1 diabetes who attend the DAFNE week long education programme have adopted a different approach to managing their glucose control. The DAFNE approach is based on calculating the amount of quick acting insulin they require using a ratio of insulin to the carbohydrate content of the meal. They are also able to use corrective doses of quick acting insulin at each meal time to keep their blood glucose within target.

The DAFNE approach to self-management is only possible if they do a minimum of 4 finger prick blood tests per day before each meal and at bedtime. In addition to this they are advised to test before and after exercise, before driving and on occasions during the night if they intend to make changes to their background insulin.

With this in mind those adopting the DAFNE approach to glycaemic control will require an adequate supply of strips. This is justified by the fact that they actively use the results to self manage their insulin requirements. Not only has this approach been proven to improve HbA1c but also reduces hypos, reduces hospital admissions and be linked with a better quality of life. This approach has been shown to be cost effective despite increase need for blood strips. This relates to:-:

  • 4 Tests per day – 120 strips per month
  • 5 Tests per day – 150 strips per month
  • 6 Tests per day - 180 strips per month

If DAFNE graduates are constantly challenged about their use of strips it undermines both their commitment to self manage and their ability to maintain the DAFNE approach to glycaemic control. Download Dafne refresher Course Dates

More on DAFNE for Healthcare Professionals

Are you DAFNE aware? 

If you are a Healthcare Professional we run courses so that you can find out how well patients become empowered and how to respond to their questions. HCP Training Details