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Getting the most out of your clinic appointments

There are things you can do in the weeks before appointments with your Diabetes Healthcare Team as well as during to help make the most of your time with the specialists. We have helpful advice for navigating your appointments and question prompts about managing your type 1 for you to consider.
Content last reviewed and updated: 11.12.2023

A man discussing his diabetes at a clinic appointment

Logging your data

If you use type 1 technology like an insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor (CGM), flash glucose monitor or smart insulin pen, it makes it easier to share your data with your diabetes healthcare team.

Adding some details to your data can be helpful too – then you’re not just showing your diabetes healthcare team what happened, but also gives them an idea of why it happened too.

See if the app that’s connected to your device lets you add notes alongside your data. You don’t have to do this all the time, perhaps just for a couple of weeks before your appointment.

If you don’t have an app you can use, you can keep a diary of your glucose levels, insulin dosages, carbohydrate intake and physical activity for a couple of weeks before your appointment. You can find some good templates on the Gary Scheiner clinic website.

Make a note of any factors that might have caused a hypo or if your glucose levels have gone above target range. This will help your Diabetes Healthcare Team understand the whole story behind the numbers, – for example you ran for a bus, had a stressful meeting, or treated a suspected hypo before checking your glucose.

It’s a good idea to keep a record of your basal insulin dosages too.

If you’re using multiple daily injections and want to move onto an insulin pump, keeping a regular log of how your type 1 management is going can help your discussions with your Diabetes Healthcare Team about whether a pump would be suitable for you.

There are other things that it would be useful for your clinician to know at your appointments, particularly if you don’t see the same person every time. Keeping a note of the things listed below will help save time during the appointment:

  • Dates of any hospital admissions due to type 1 in the last 12 months, and what happened
  • If you’ve had any hypos in the last year that you were unable to treat yourself
  • How aware you are of when your hypos are coming on (You can use the 1 – 7 scale that clinics use to evaluate awareness of hypos, with 1=always and 7=never)
  • What your glucose level is on average when you notice hypo symptoms
  • Dates you last went on any type 1 diabetes education programmes or courses (eg DAFNE, Bertie) or when one was last offered to you
  • How confident you are about carbohydrate counting

Keeping a food diary

You might want to consider keeping a food diary as well as a log of the amount of carbohydrate you’re eating and drinking. Doing this may help you identify if there are any particular foods that trigger a blood glucose response that you’re not expecting or if you’re miscalculating how much insulin you need.

Set the agenda for your appointment

Take some time to think about what you want to get out of each diabetes appointment. Consider if there’s anything you’d like to be different about your life with type 1 and if there’s anything you’d like to improve. For example:

Setting an agenda can help you feel more confident about talking openly and honestly in your appointment, which is important. Even if you’re not doing something you think that you should, talking about it in the clinic could bring up ways to deal with it, or you might find you’re expecting too much of yourself. Talking things through can often lead to a more positive outcome.

Remember that your clinic is there to support you to manage your condition, not to make you feel judged.

Taking notes

It can be helpful to take a pen and paper with you to your appointment so you can take notes. There’s sometimes a lot of information to take in so something to remind you later can be useful.

Ask lots of questions

If your consultant, nurse or dietician recommends any changes, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and write down the answers. Here are some examples:

  • Why are you recommending this change?
  • How will I know if it’s working or not?
  • How long should I give it to see if it’s working?
  • Who should I contact if I need help?
  • Can I schedule a follow-up call if changes have been made to discuss progress?
  • Your appointment should be a two-way conversation. If you don’t want to make the changes that have been suggested, talk about why you don’t like the idea or think it would not work for you. This can help stop you leaving the appointment feeling that you weren’t listened to and not intending to make any changes.

Talking tech at your appointment

If you’re attending an appointment and want to talk about getting a device to help manage your type 1, like a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), flash monitorinsulin pump or hybrid closed loop system, it’s a good idea to get as much information together before you go.

You can find lots of information in our technology guide on how different pieces of tech work, how they can help you and the different models available. Taking specific information to your appointment can help your discussions, for example you might have found a particular make of CGM that you think will best meet your needs.

You can also find out what is available to you on the NHS before your appointment. This differs for each piece of equipment and can depend on whether you live in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland. Use our Type 1 diabetes technology-finding tool to see what you might be eligible for.

You can also visit our pages which outline the guidance and process for getting a CGM, flash monitorinsulin pump or hybrid closed loop on the NHS.

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