Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 8 August 2017: The Dubai Diabetes Centre, the emirate’s only dedicated multidisciplinary diabetes centre, has begun family counselling services for its patients.
The move is in line with the Centre’s philosophy to provide multi-disciplinary diabetes management service under one roof.
Mohammed Belal Al Shamma, consultant endocrinologist, said: “People with diabetes are recognized as having an increased risk of depression. It is estimated that 20 per cent of diabetics have depression, which can also make diabetes management a more difficult task. Therefore, the move to provide individual, couples and family counseling in the same centre helps ensure compliance to treatment and improves patient outcomes.”
According to World Health Organization (WHO), globally, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980. The global prevalence (age-standardized) of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, arising from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population. It is estimated that in the UAE, one in five people are diabetic and another one in five are pre-diabetic.
Al Shamma said: “Since the start of this centre in 2007, we have come a long way in ensuring that we provide specialised multidisciplinary services to people with diabetes under one-roof. At the centre, we provide international levels of care and have specialists such as nurse educators, dieticians, podiatrists, exercise therapists and retinal camera technicians. The centre also has a paediatric endocrine clinic that comprises of a paediatric endocrinology, nurse educator and dietician specially trained to handle paediatric cases.”
Alaa Abu Ali, social counsellor at the DDC, said that the addition of individual counselling services will help both patients and their family members better cope with the diagnosis and ensure their emotional wellbeing. “Diabetes can be overwhelming at times, and this is particularly the case for many pediatric patients and their families. Often parents and children with diabetes are overwhelmed because they have so many factors to consider. They need to consider factors such as school schedules, other activities, food and the effect of these factors on glucose levels. Additionally, children also worry about making friends, fitting in, and worry about how they will play sports and do other activities without letting diabetes get in the way of their day-to-day life. Counseling helps patients cope with their emotions and anxieties so that they stay on track with their health and comply with the treatment plans that are chalked out for them.”
Abu Ali added that children with diabetes are prone to developing dysfunctional eating patterns and therefore the dietetic department and the counselling department closely coordinate and work together in such cases.
At a later stage, the Centre will look into forming support groups for children and teenagers with diabetes.
In terms of adult patients, Ali added that there is a need for more awareness for adult patients to understand the importance of counseling and accept it because there is still a lot of stigma associated with counseling. “We find that while parents willingly bring their children for counseling, adult patients often are more resistant. We ensure they are aware that counseling is confidential and we advocate that counselling is not only needed in chronic psychological conditions but is useful in simple situations such relationship management, treatment adherence, motivation and coping mechanisms, stress management and to better day-to-day living.”