A Diabetes Education Program (DEP) is a place that provides people with the information, skills and confidence they need to manage diabetes and lead a healthy life.
Should I attend a DEP?
You should attend a DEP if you are:
- Newly diagnosed or at risk for diabetes
- Living with diabetes, but need help managing it
- Pregnant and have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes
Family members and friends of someone living with diabetes can also attend a DEP.
Where are DEPs located?
DEPs can be located in community health centres or other community-based locations. They may also be located in hospitals (and are called Diabetes Education Centres or DECs).
Do I need a referral and how can I find a DEP?
Most DEPs will accept a self-referral so you can contact them yourself for an appointment. Some DEPs require a referral from a health professional.
Your family doctor or other health professional can refer you to a DEP.
Will I be seen right away at the DEP?
Some DEPs may have longer waiting periods depending on their location and the services offered.
Do I have to pay to attend a DEP?
No. There is no charge to attend a publicly funded DEP.
Who works at a DEP?
A team of health care professionals, which may include:
- Endocrinologists – doctors who specialize in diabetes
- Diabetes Nurse Educators
- Registered Dietitians
- Certified Pump Trainers – specialists in insulin pump therapy
- Exercise Therapists
- Social Workers
What will I learn at a DEP?
DEPs offer group education classes and one-on-one counselling. Classes cover many topics for preventing and managing diabetes. They usually take place over a few days. They may also take place on a weekly or monthly basis.
You will learn about topics like:
- Healthy eating and meal planning
- Reading food labels
- Monitoring blood glucose levels
- Medications and insulin
- Physical activity
- Preventing complications
- Foot care
- Managing stress
Attending a DEP can help you manage your diabetes and connect with other people living with the same condition. You will have the help of a diabetes team who can answer any questions you may have. Best of all, it’s free to attend.
You may also be interested in:
How to Manage Diabetes
Lower your risk of diabetes-related health problems
Tips for healthy meal planning with diabetes
Last Update – February 2, 2023