Experiences of the DAFNE structured education programme, and managing type 1 diabetes during Covid-19

This study had two main aims: 

  1. To explore experiences of the structured diabetes education programme, Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE), among people with type 1 diabetes. This includes finding out how people apply their learning from the programme in everyday life. 
  2. To explore how graduates experienced the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 The study was led by Aoibheann Kavanagh, who was a recipient of the 2022 Health Research Board Summer Student Scholarship, and who is a final year student of the BSc. Public Health Sciences in UCC. Aoibheann completed her 8-week scholarship under the supervision of Dr Fiona Riordan.  


Why did we carry out this study?

Good self-management is an important part of diabetes care. Structured education programmes, like the Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE) programme, which teach self-management principles, can help support people living with type 1 diabetes.  The DAFNE programme has been shown to improve health outcomes, and it is currently being rolled out to more hospitals across Ireland. Only a few studies have explored how people apply learning from the DAFNE programme in everyday life. None to date have explored DAFNE graduates’ experiences of managing their illness during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

What was involved?

Photovoice is a community-based participatory approach, whereby participants take photographs of important and meaningful aspects of their lives and explain their significance. It was used in this project to offer an insight into the reality of living with diabetes during the pandemic.  Ten people with type 1 diabetes who had completed the DAFNE programme took part in this study. Participants took photographs over a 10-day period to capture their experience of the DAFNE programme and their experience of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants discussed their photographs and the stories behind them during an online interview with a member of the research team.  


DAFNE Photovoice project outputs


  • Kavanagh A.,Riordan F. Experiences of the DAFNE structured education programme, and managing type 1 diabetes during Covid-19: A photovoice project (2022). Download the Photovoice Report



  • Watch a slideshow with all photos taken by participants. You can also download the  Photovoice Slideshow


Project summary



Health Implementation Research Hub

School of Public Health, Western Gateway Building, T12 XF62,