Teaching letters

One of the DESG project is to review, update the teaching letters.
If you are interested in joining a panel of reviewers please contact us.



In the 1980s the Diabetes Education Study Group of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes produced a series of twenty Teaching Letters which have been translated into 26 languages and distributed worldwide and later updated.
Meanwhile, the production of a new series was started, aiming at highlighting several aspects of Therapeutic Patient Education which either have not yet been considered specifically, or deserve consideration from still another point of view.
A first series of five new Teaching Letters has been produced by a group of 28 doctors, nurses, dieticians and psycho-pedagogues from 13 different countries, all experts in Therapeutic Patient Education, during a 5-day workshop which took place in Capri (Italy) from 2-7 April 1998.
The previous experience of this group of Health Professionals with the use of the first Teaching Letters has allowed us to advance some suggestions on the possible fruitful use of these documents.
Difficulties in the previous use of the Teaching Letters Before writing a new series of Teaching Letters, the Authors were well aware that, for several reasons, the first ones may not have been fully exploited in the past. In some instances the Teaching Letters may not have been fully appropriate to particular national or local conditions, nor have they been included in official national guidelines or actions.
Their format may have been too academic and too lengthy to encourage their systematic use by GPs and diabetes teams.
Also, they may have met with less enthusiasm among HCPs towards Therapeutic Patient Education than was expected.
In some instances they may have been misused or unused by unskilled educators, either because of lack of individualisation, or because they were considered as nice objects to be filed away or kept on the desk. Fruitful use of the Teaching Letters The previous Teaching Letters have been used as a reference of basic standards for Therapeutic Patient Education to provide curricula for: a) HCPs, b) patients, c) policy makers.
In several instances they have been used as tools to educate the educators, to facilitate the use of a common language, to focus attention on specific topics and to change HCPs’ attitudes.
They have been used in several contexts, e.g., during interactive workshops for HCPs on Therapeutic Patient Education or during conferences.
They have proven to be especially useful in team work, helping to define the role of each member of the diabetes team, facilitating problem-solving discussions within the diabetes team and interactions between staff members, enabling all team members to stay on the same educational track.
They have also been helpful in the evaluation of Patient Education, making it easier to define results.
The Teaching Letters have proven most valuable in the multidisciplinary approach, the problem-solving approach, the interactive approach, and in their proximity to the patients’ condition, when HCPs knew of their existence and had them readily available.
Sound use of the Teaching Letters has been preceded by an analysis of the educational needs of HCPs and by an adaptation to individual local situations, making them part of a project for personal and team development.
We wish to thank Servier , for the distribution of these documents.