Matthew makes the right ‘Choice’ on health support

Matthew Stewart.
Matthew Stewart.

A Dromore boy is amongst children and their families who are being helped by the diabetes education and support programme, ‘Choice’.

With Diabetes Awareness week running from June 8 to 14, the Choice programme is proving to be a great success with children and young people who have diabetes.

The Choice programme helps families and children to manage their diabetes more effectively.

Eleven year old Matthew Stewart, from Dromore, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in September 2013.

Matthew and his mum Lesley attended the Choice programme in Banbridge. Lesley believes that Choice was a godsend for her and her son.

Lesley commented: “Matthew’s diagnosis was a shock as I had no awareness of diabetes and what is involved in managing the condition. As soon as Matthew was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes we started the course, thanks to the diabetes clinic staff who informed us about it.

“The staff running the Choice programme were brilliant and gave us all the information we needed over the four week course. It was very useful to meet other families also dealing with diabetes. Also it was very reassuring for Matthew to meet other kids.

“The clinic staff are always on hand for advice or help, even outside of clinic times. I would definitely recommend the Choice programme to other parents as it helps you to get your head around things so much more quickly and easier and the earlier you attend when diagnosed with diabetes the better.”

The Choice programme was developed specifically for children and young people with diabetes. This programme is being rolled out across the Southern Health and Social Care Trust area.

Children and young people attend the Choice programme over a four week period, with each session lasting three hours.

The aim of the programme is to give children, young people and their families or carers, the skills and knowledge they need to manage their diabetes and to reduce the impact of the condition on daily activities and lifestyle.

Angela McVeigh, Director of Older People and Primary Care for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said: “Choice is really making a difference to the lives of children and young people with diabetes in our area. By educating families we are able to help the young people to become experts in their own condition, helping to improve their future outcomes and quality of life.”

There are places available on future Choice programmes which are open to children and young people with diabetes aged up to 19 years and their parents/carers. For further information or to book a place, contact your diabetes team in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.