The Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH) has re-launched its unique web portal for structured education incorporating new modules specifically for young people.
Building on the success of the face to face courses held at the hospital, the Diabetes Team has designed an online portal – Bertie Online – to help those living with type 1 diabetes manage their condition in a way that best suits their lifestyle, regardless of where they are in the country.
The new portal, launched in September, offers vital education via an innovative and unique platform and its release coincides with the start of the new academic term when many young people go to university and have questions about leaving home, exam stress, relationships, managing alcohol and eating out alongside their diabetes. Bertie Online, specifically the Streetwise section for young people, covers these topics as well as others.
Another addition to the site is the new Lifewise section, which offers support and advice on issues including psychology, pregnancy, illness and being admitted to hospital.The portal also provides a forum for people to share their experiences and build a support network – ideal for those who have recently been diagnosed and may be feeling alone and overwhelmed.
Helen Partridge, RBH diabetes consultant, said: “Bertie Online is something completely new for people with type 1 diabetes, helping them manage their own condition. The site aims to help all type 1 patients, regardless of where they are in the UK – or the world for that matter – access the information provided in the face to face courses in their own time and in the comfort of their own homes, as well as supporting them with what to do if things don’t go as planned.
“Facing a diabetes diagnosis is daunting to say the least but knowing you’re not alone can make a huge difference. Bertie Online helps with this too – it provides group support from a community of people with similar concerns.
“We hope the site will be useful not only to people with type 1 diabetes, but also to their carers, families and other health care professionals. While the online course is not designed to replace the traditional face to face courses, it acts as an additional tool to help people with diabetes achieve everything they set out to do in life.”
Katie Arnold, 17, from Bournemouth, said: “Bertie Online is crammed with useful, relevant stuff. It saves waiting for an appointment for quick questions and it even covers things I hadn’t thought about – like insulin levels at festivals. The best bit for me at the moment is the leaving home section as it’s something that’s on my mind – I plan to go to uni next year. It gives me time to prepare for the changes I’ll need to make, like changing doctors, well ahead of time.”
Dan Howarth, Head of Care at Diabetes UK, said: “For far too long, guidance for young people with type 1 diabetes has been limited. Bertie Online changes this – it’s a ground-breaking platform, providing structured education that confronts issues important to everyone with type 1 diabetes. Streetwise is a great new addition, supporting young adults with issues relevant to them, like exam stress, moving out and relationships, in an innovative way. We’re really proud of the Diabetes team at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and hope to see a high uptake of the platform.”
For more information, please visit bertieonline.org.uk