Diabetes community expands assist through new web site


A team of diabetes specialists who built a social media network for people with the disease when the Covid-19 outbreak began, hopes to expand their reach and support by launching a new website.

Team Diabetes 101’s Twitter account was originally set up to help people with diabetes through the coronavirus pandemic by providing trusted and verified advice and signage, as well as daily morale boosting activities.

But almost 10 months later, one of the specialist nurses behind the group said the project had now “grown special”.

Vicki Alabraba, a 15-year-old specialist diabetes nurse, told the Nursing Times that the support network, which currently has nearly 6,000 followers, has provided “some distraction” to diabetics and “some tools to manage themselves”.

The group also held an online conference that summer with more than 100 participants.

Ms. Alabraba, who works for the Liverpool Diabetes Partnership’s community team, said after the network’s success on social media, she decided to expand its accessibility by creating a website.

Vicki Alabraba

“We just felt like everything we put together in one place through the Twitter account means anyone can access it,” said Ms. Alabraba, who developed the website in her own time over the Christmas season.

The website devotes a special section to Covid-19 and Diabetes, which includes a frequently asked question sheet from the team to “allay some fears and concerns and answer some frequently asked questions”.

It also offers a range of infographics and resources, as well as recorded videos of its online conference and sessions from a series of Twitter training sessions the group has held.

Behind the group is a multidisciplinary team of employees, including nine specialized nurses, consultants, pharmacists, psychologists and a retinal researcher.

“Being on a website now just means it’s more accessible for people and health teams can share it as a resource for their patients, too.”

Vicki Alabraba

“It was set up specifically to help support Covid, but it really has grown to be special,” Ms. Alabraba said.

“It has provided support and security to many people, especially when people have not been able to get in touch with their own diabetes teams, despite the pressures that are currently on.

“It has provided some distraction, has given people some tools to manage themselves and, hopefully, has helped educate newly diagnosed people with better access to information.”

She added, “Being on a website now just means it’s more accessible to people with diabetes and that health teams can make it available as a resource for their patients too.

“It really is only for people with diabetes just to help, support them, and guide them through difficult times.”

In the future, the team has plans to hold another conference and will also run a series of video blogs to give patients an insight into their role as health professionals outside the group.

About the team, Ms. Alabraba added: “We have all learned from each other over the past 10 months and have supported each other and hope to expand and develop the team further.”