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Working with associations for the benefit of patients

Published on September 02, 2021

4 minutes

Air Liquide, as a major player in home healthcare, works with patient associations to adapt its solutions that support chronic diseases and lifestyle changes. To help people with diabetes, the Group has collaborated with the French association Aide aux Jeunes Diabétiques (AJD) to provide international reach to a series of educational videos aimed at young diabetics. We met with Carine Choleau, Director of Aide aux Jeunes Diabétiques.

Could you tell us a bit about your association, AJD?

AJD was founded 60 years ago and is unique among patient association groups. It brings together patients, their families and their caregivers with the aim of helping young people with Type 1 diabetes thrive, while also protecting their health. Indeed, we have a dual identity; we are both an association for healthcare professionals AND for patients.

How was the association started?

This year, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. At the time, and up until the 1950s, the treatment of Type 1 diabetes was not well understood. Children with Type 1 diabetes were admitted to hospital and put on bed rest to avoid unnecessary exertion. The year 1951 was a turning point when French pediatrician Henri Lestradet visited the United States and met Bill Talbert, a diabetic tennis champion who managed his condition very well. Henri Lestradet returned to France convinced that it was possible to get these children out of hospital. He created the first holiday camp for diabetic children with the firm conviction that medical knowledge could not remain solely in the hands of caregivers; it must also be shared with patients and their parents. He believed that in addition to purely medical care, there was also a need for social and psychosocial support. So, in 1956, he founded AJD in cooperation with doctors, patients and their families.

What does the association do concretely?

We carry out a wide range of actions. These include the hospitalization of patients with stays organized by AJD , which have become pediatric SSR centers (follow-up care and rehabilitation centers), patient advocacy measures, as well as support for families and training for healthcare professionals.

We also have a publishing department. We produce a quarterly magazine on Type 1 diabetes, as well as academic papers in line with ISPAD (International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes) recommendations, which are written in language that the families can understand.

Can you tell us about your partnership with Air Liquide?

We have collaborated with Air Liquide and its various subsidiaries on several occasions. With VitalAire (an Air Liquide subsidiary specialized in home healthcare) for example, we have worked on academic papers that were then shared with hospital departments and families, as well as on training programs for nurses. With Dinno Santé (an Air Liquide subsidiary specialized in home healthcare support for diabetes), we worked together on GlucoZor, the first educational mobile application that helps children better understand diabetes. Our partnerships vary depending on the opportunities and needs that arise. But what is key for us, is that each project aligns with our values, is in the patients’ interest and, of course, is beneficial to both Air Liquide and AJD.

Can you tell us more about your educational video project?

The “Génération Type 1” series is a response to a single fact: other than at the camps that we organize, we have difficulty engaging teenagers. So we decided to use their favorite media and pass on our expertise and knowledge in a way they would be familiar with. To do so, we worked with two young Type 1 diabetes patients, Camille and Simon. As the episodes unfold, they share their personal experiences of playing sports, exams to be carried out, stereotyping, other people’s perceptions, managing their condition while on holiday.... And we ensure that the messages conveyed are consistent with what young patients are told in hospital. For me, that is essential. For the moment, we have produced two seasons of around 20 episodes each.

How did Air Liquide help you with this project?

The videos were scripted and produced by us, at AJD.  The partnership with Air Liquide gave this project greater visibility and international reach thanks to the development of its website Making Diabetes Easier, which has been rolled out in nine countries and aims to make the daily lives of diabetes patients easier. The Group selected 20 episodes from the series to add to their platform. They were personalized and have been translated into three languages for the moment. This partnership aligns perfectly with our values and allows us to promote our awareness-raising measures. We are always eager to share our messages and content as long as it is in the interest of patients and their families.

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