Case Studies

We have used case studies from our colleagues in St Austell to highlight the excellent results that can be achieved through social prescribing.

Case Studies

Vanetta

My journey started in May 2016 when I had a blood test which confirmed I was a type 2 diabetic. I was devastated and realised that my lifestyle was probably to blame. I was certain that I did not want to take medication and that my health was my responsibility. I needed to make changes, and I was determined to turn my diagnosis around. This is actually possible.

What did you do?

I immediately changed my eating habits and whilst waiting for a blood test at one of the surgeries, I saw a slide about the Eden Project’s walking group for diabetics. I decided that this was going to be good for me, to meet other people who also had diabetes and get some exercise in beautiful surroundings. I made contact with Hayley, the Social Prescribing Navigator for St Austell Healthcare, and she encouraged me to go to Eden the following week and start walking. I have continued every week since then. I have trained to become a walk leader which is another very good incentive to turn up. I really enjoy walking every week with the company of fellow diabetics whom I now class as friends. I feel inspired by being at Eden, it is quite hard to put it into words but it feels like you are almost part of a family – there is a really sense of a community amongst the staff, volunteers and even the visitors. Being in nature also really helps my sense of well-being. You can marvel at what is around you – big or small and have a moment of awe and wonder, it helps to clear my head of any worries. I smelt the Daphne’s whilst on a walk recently, they smelt so good I went home and planted some in my own garden!

The walking, along with other exercises such as short circuit training for over 55s and a healthy low carb diet, has improved my health, weight and general well-being so much. I have lost over two stone in weight. My last HbA1c blood test showed that I have moved out of the diabetic and pre-diabetic range. I was so excited to see what I had achieved. Hayley was as delighted as I was! I am very aware that I cannot become complacent and need to keep the motivation going. During this journey I am volunteering with many organisations and my life is busy as I weave in my various roles, but I am so happy and am enjoying my life very much. I am now ready to support others on their diabetic journey. If you have a diabetic diagnosis, then it is never too late to start making changes just ask for support.

Vanetta started with the Social Prescribing Programme in December 2016.
At her 12 months review:
WEMWBS increased from 56– 62
BMI reduced from 30.8–24.8 (obese to normal weight)
HbA1c reduced from 44–38
mmol/mol

Vanetta has reduced her blood sugar levels from diabetic to normal within 1 year.

Di

I was first diagnosed with diabetes 18 years ago, I wasn’t told much at the time’ so I just carried on as normal. I moved to Cornwall about seven years ago and I didn’t really know many people so I was hardly leaving the house. As a result I put on more weight had no confidence and became increasingly anxious.

What did you do?

I was referred by my GP to Hayley, the Social Prescribing Navigator at St Austell Healthcare. She really encouraged me to join the walking group at the Eden Project; it was very much about overcoming the mental barrier for me and having the confidence to step out of the house on my own. For the first time in years I began to do something for myself. Eden has such a welcoming atmosphere and the fellow walkers accepted me into the group with kindness. It was only when I joined the group that I realised that things could be much better for me. Just taking those first few steps has had such a massive impact on my life.

As I was walking I noticed my blood sugar coming down and I started losing weight and my desire to keep eating all the wrong things reduced. I really felt like I wanted to do something myself about my health and there was also a part of me that didn’t want to let Hayley down, I felt like I couldn’t go back to her and say that I hadn’t even tried ! I now walk whenever I can instead of being driven. I have made new friends via a group online and also friends in my local community and I have started volunteering at a local homeless centre. I would say to others who have type 2 diabetes to just try something, try it for 6 weeks and if you don’t like it do something else. For me joining the walking group has completely changed my life.

Di started with St Austell Social Prescribing Programme on the 29 March 2017 so is due her 12 month review soon. At 6 months:
WEMWBS increase from 57 – 66.
BMI down from 48.3 – 46.85
HBA1c down from 91-74
mmol/mol

Lynda

I was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes 25 years. I was aware that I was needing to go to the loo all the time, feeling tired and had increased thirst but it was only when someone I worked with said you might have diabetes that I went to have myself checked out and found that yes, I did have it. It was quite a shock as I had no one else in the family with it. I started on medication and also a diet to try and control it but unfortunately I ended up going onto insulin which I have been taking for twenty years.

Two and a half years ago I retired and moved to Cornwall and for the first year my blood sugars were out of control. It did not help that I had left a busy job and was now in a different county with few friends or even acquaintances, I spent a lot of time on my own at home and it did not help my health as I put on another stone. I was very anxious about it all and was very scared of Hypo’s (when your blood glucose level is too low.)

What was the turning point for you?

After about a year I was referred to the Social Prescribing Navigator at St Austell Healthcare, Hayley and Esther the diabetic nurse, my HbA1c levels at the time were at 81. At this point my life was turned around. Hayley has been a huge encouragement to me because she was totally understanding of what I wanted to do in getting my blood sugar under control and to lose weight. Through Hayley, I attended a 12 week healthy eating course. I managed to maintain my weight rather than lose weight, but I learnt about food portion sizes and the importance of drinking water daily. I have now joined Keep Active (over 55’s short circuit training) I try and attend twice a week and really put an effort in as I see a result in my blood sugars from this exercise. I attend the diabetes walking group at the Eden Project, and some of the other walking groups in the St Austell area. I was also guided to a knitting group and find my days are very well spent and have met so many lovely people. It has been great to walk through the town and be recognised and spoken to.

The next part of my journey starts next week with a healthy eating programme and also being moved onto different insulin which I hope will enable me to not only lose weight but really take charge of my health. I would say to others who have been diagnosed with diabetes, once you have got over the initial shock, keep more active and eat sensibly reducing carbohydrates. My last HbA1c result was 65! Definitely a move in the right direction! I cannot thank Hayley and her team enough. I can’t remember the last time I had to see a doctor!

Lynda started with the St Austell Social Prescribing Programme in February 2017

After 12 month review:

  • WEMWBS increase from 57 -63
  • BMI up from 34.7 – 34.9
  • HbA1c down from 70-65