Casper has been working for Living Well Taking Control since the Diabetes Prevention Programme first launched in St Helen’s in January 2017. He worked with some of the very first participant’s to join a programme in the area, including Cohort 22 (pictured above). Casper’s role is to facilitate the members of the group to make small, manageable changes to their health behaviours, including nutrition, weight management, exercise and stress management. He supports each individual to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
We asked Casper about his experience of delivering the Diabetes Prevention Programme. He said:
“During my first session with the group, it was obvious there was high degree of nervousness, apprehension and reluctance to engage in the programme. This was due to the participant’s being aware that the programme was new and the first of its kind to be run in the area. They were unsure about how effective it was going to be. However, these feelings did not last long, with one participant saying: ‘due to the friendly, open and relaxed atmosphere created by the facilitator, we were made to feel at ease about concept of making lifestyle changes’. Another participant said: ‘I was wary at first to sit in a group but felt comfortable from day one…Casper was polite, helpful and cheerful and taught me many ways of eating healthy’.
As the programme is 52 weeks long, it was important for me to quickly overcome any doubts and fears the participants had. Despite the focus of the educational sessions being on long-term changes to their lifestyle, I educated and encouraged the participants to focus on the short-term goals that would support the long-term changes such as, weekly target goals and a target for each area of lifestyle change. This allowed to the participants to feel less overwhelmed about the amount of information they were taking in and allow them to feel more confident within themselves to develop and maintain a healthier lifestyle at a pace that was right for them. One participant said: ‘Casper’s guidance and support allowed us to realise how to make minor changes that were easy to maintain and but would have a large positive influence on our health in the long run. Secondly, having regular check-ups helped us keep on track, remain motivated and deal effectively with any setbacks’.
As a facilitator, an important aspect of the programme was to ensure the advice and support was personally tailored to each individual and their needs. All the patients, regularly commented about how they felt they were able to ask questions about their personal lifestyle and receive help about how to make changes that suited them.”
Over the period of the programme, the three main targets set by the participants were to reduce their HbA1c levels, reduce their body weight and learn how to maintain the positive lifestyle changes they have made, to ensure they are no longer at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. At the start of the programme, the average HbA1c level in the group was 46 and the starting average weight was 81.1kg. By the end of the programme the average HbA1c level in the group was 41 (an average reduction of 5 points) and the end average weight was 79kg (an average reduction of 2.1 kg).
Casper really enjoys being able to support and inspire people to make so many positive changes and improve their health. He loves being able to make a difference to people lives and this is echoed in feedback from one of the participants:
‘My experience on this programme has made a big difference to my life and I have learnt a lot’.