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Group Education for overweight, pre-diabetes and Type 2 DM

 The WellSouth long-term conditions team offers  group education for people with Type 2 DM, Pre-diabetes and overweight.

We find many people feel ambivalent about attending groups, because they think they will be expected to do things they are uncomfortable with such as being weighed in the group.  This will not happen in our groups, we are creating a supportive environment and we use groups for evidence based reasons.

Why group education?

Here are some reasons we run groups:

  •  Many people feel isolated because they assume their health problems are unique to them. In groups, they see and hear from others with similar health challenges. This reduces feelings of loneliness. 
  • Group education uses Social learning theory (where people learn from each other). This encourages problem-solving behavior as part of self-management. Great ideas on how to manage problems are often shared by group members that help others 

  • Our groups use Leventhal’s common sense model to help people reflect on their own beliefs about their health condition. If those beliefs are unhelpful they get to hear about other ways they could think about (and act on) their health challenges, in non-confrontational ways. Some people come to our groups thinking they can’t make any changes, but go away knowing that small changes are possible 

  • We also use dual processing theory to help people learn about self-care. All our teaching is done through talking and listening, but also has elements of “doing things together” such as learning how to read labels to determine fat types or carbohydrate levels in a food. This encourages self-efficacy



 Prepare your patients by offering group education first

You can help us by always offering group education to overweight, pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes patients who either request or are advised they need dietetic advice. When patients express they would prefer 1:1, your explaining they will gain benefits from groups that they cannot get from 1:1 sessions will encourage them to attend. 

If the patient has significant anxiety about groups, consider referral to brief intervention to manage anxiety as a first line approach rather than requesting a 1:1 appointment. 1:1 appointments need to be reserved for patients with significant learning impairment or other difficulties. If you think the person needs 1:1 rather than group, contact either the DESMOND coordinator or a dietitian to get advice.


What is DESMOND (Diabetes Education for Self Management for Ongoing or Newly Diagnosed)?

DESMOND is a one off course lasting a whole day. It is aimed at people with Type 2 Diabetes.  It can be claimed as sick leave by patients - we can issue a certificate of attendance to use in place of a medical certificate.

DESMOND is an internationally recognized course of education for people with Type 2 diabetes.  The self management education is an integral part of best practice clinical management of a person with Type 2 diabetes. It is recognized that self-management is the cornerstone of effective diabetes care and people with diabetes should receive a service that encourages a partnership in decision making, supports them in managing their diabetes and helps them to adopt and sustain a healthy lifestyle.

A referral to DESMOND should be made for all adults with a new diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, ideally within the first year of diagnosis. Please encourage people to attend along with a supportive person so they can benefit from early, evidence based education on diabetes and its management. 

 People who have had diabetes for many years can also benefit from a referral to DESMOND. Our most common feedback from those who have had diabetes for 10+ years is "why did we not have a course like this earlier?"

Patients who have attended DESMOND may bring copies of their health profile and action plan to review appointments. You can help people who have attended DESMOND by making sure they get copies of their blood test results so they can complete the health profile.  Things the patient is working in their action plan on can be used to make part of their personalized care plan.




What is Walking Away from Diabetes?

Walking Away from Diabetes  is a one off course lasting a half day. It can be claimed as sick leave by patients - we can issue a certificate of attendance to use in place of a medical certificate.

Walking Away is one of the DESMOND modules and focuses on the education of people with Pre-diabetes with the aim of preventing the progression to diabetes. The course emphasizes a focus on increasing physical activity and reducing saturated fat which both have the strongest evidence base for reducing insulin resistance.

Like DESMOND it focuses on understanding their health profile and developing action plans to facilitate self-management. Walking Away benefits anyone with pre-diabetes to reduce or delay the progression to Type 2 diabetes.  These goals can form part of a personalized care plan.


What are Healthy Lifestyles Groups?

The WellSouth Dietitians are delivering 4 session groups each lasting 2 hours on Healthy Lifestyle choices. Timing of the groups will vary depending on locality and availability of venue and staff. The course covers healthy eating and strategies to manage non-hungry eating. 

Many of these groups are run in the early evening as we recognize this will be easier for some people to attend.


Do you want to learn what we do in groups? 

We are happy to have observers in the DESMOND and Walking Away groups. We are also looking at developing education sessions for Primary Care so they can understand what we do, but if you want to find out more contact either the DESMOND educator or  


If you want to refer a patient to either of these courses, then please either complete and ERMS referral or use the form below to refer to WellSouth's DESMOND coordinator.

DESMOND and Walking Away Referral Form