Feltman - now with eyes!

Back

The development of an eye health 'add-on' for the popular diabetes health promotion resource Feltman provides opportunities for community members to learn more about the prevention and management of diabetes-related eye health conditions

This 'Share Your Story' was written by Natalie Arambasic, Aboriginal and Cultural Diversity Program, Diabetes Victoria.

BACKGROUND

Feltman is a diabetes teaching tool made by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and Diabetes Victoria. It is designed to help health professionals explain diabetes in a way that is easy to understand and can be used with individuals and community groups, as a one-way demonstration or as a two-way interactive workshop.

Feltman has traditionally featured a printed fabric human body mat with anatomically correct organs:

  • Stick-on attachments (including insulin keys, locks, glucose discs, ketone discs, fat discs, LDL cholesterol triangles, retinas and kidney cross sections)
  • Stick-on organ labels
  • Prompt cards (including risk factors, symptoms, prevention, complications, management, foods and eyes)
  • USB stick loaded with the Feltman manual and instructional video
  • Storage bag

feltman resources

Image: New Feltman design with eyes added

In 2015 Diabetes Victoria and the Victorian Aboriginal Controlled Health Organisation received a funding grant from the Inner North West Primary Care Partnership to support the development of a new diabetes-related eye health add-on for the Feltman Aboriginal diabetes education resource. The development of this resource was a priority as diabetic retinopathy is the third leading cause of vision loss amongst Indigenous Australians. Diabetes Victoria also received feedback that some organisations were creating their own eyes to put on Feltman and so they instigated a project to support this need by developing the eye health add-on.

The Feltman eye health add-on is used by Aboriginal Health Workers to discuss the prevention and management of diabetes-related eye health conditions in the Victorian Aboriginal community.

The kit was developed by a team of diabetes educators, eye health experts and Aboriginal Health Workers from Diabetes Victoria, VACCHO, Mercy Hospital, the Indigenous Eye Health Unit at the University of Melbourne, the Australian College of Optometry and Vision 2020 Australia.

feltman advisory groups

Image 1: Technical Advisory group. L-R: Carol Wynne, Genevieve Napper, Mitchell Anjou, Dee Tumino. Image 2: Colin Mitchell, Craig Bennett, Emily White, Christine Couzens MP, Jennifer Browne, Keith Morgan at the Feltman Eye kit launch.

Their expertise guided the development of Feltman eyes by providing feedback on:

  • Design and appearance of the Feltman eye add on
  • Key messages relating to eye health and diabetes
  • What topic cards and images were going to be included

The new kit included:

  • Specially designed felt ‘eyes’ to go with the existing Feltman kit
  • New prompt cards to help talk about diabetes-related eye conditions
  • An eye health key messages booklet.

The Feltman Eye Health add-on was launched on World Diabetes Day 2016 (Monday 14 November 2016). The kit  was offered free of charge to all Victorian Aboriginal Health Organisations that had a Feltman and was also available to purchase. In addition to this, Feltman eye health key messages were also included into the Feltman training package and Feltman eyes were made a permanent attachment in the 2018 update.

Feltman eyes was a successful project as it involved collaboration with key knowledge experts that work with diabetes related eye conditions. The process of developing the add-on also involved working closely with Aboriginal Health Workers to develop a culturally-tailored resource that would help them talk about the prevention and management of diabetes-related eye health conditions in the Victorian Aboriginal community.

Feltman® and Feltmum® are registered trademarks of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and Diabetes Victoria.


If you have any questions relating to this ‘story’ please contact Natalie Arambasic, Health Promotion Officer – Aboriginal and Cultural Diversity Program, Diabetes Victoria via email culturaldiversity@diabetesvic.org.au or by telephone (03) 8648 1836.

This 'Share your Story' article was published 16 April 2020.