‘Introduction to Insulin’ classes: flexible approach to insulin initiation

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There is increased interest in undertaking task orientated patient education, such as commencement on insulin, in the group setting. Group education allows use of adult educational theory and may reduce educator time. The usual model of group education for commencing insulin is to delay insulin initiation until the first class. We describe an alternative flexible, hybrid model of education, combining initial 1:1 education in some patients with group classes (‘Introduction to Insulin’ classes), for initiation and stabilisation on insulin. This model was adopted primarily to ensure that insulin was commenced with minimal delay, once the decision to start it had been made.Following piloting and design of the ‘Introduction to Insulin’ classes, a prospective audit was undertaken of the first 50 patients participating in the classes. By one year, HbA1c had fallen from 9.8% to 7.8% and there was an associated 2.7 kg weight gain. This model of insulin education is therefore as effective as traditional 1:1 education, yet has the potential to utilise less overall educator time.

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