University of Connecticut Associate Professor Louise Reagan of the School of Nursing has received a grant from the American Diabetes Association for her research on developing a testing app to self-manage diabetes.
The grant, titled “American Diabetes Association grant #11-21-ICTSHD-05,” will help fund the development of a mobile app that can assist those re-entering society from prison with managing their diabetes.
While still in early development, Reagan said she has already developed the general framework for the initial app.
“The LIVE© JustICE community (mobile app) will contain a classroom meeting with other avatars/participants- a modification of the full LIVE computer version. The community will be available 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Access to the LIVE JustICE© community will allow participants to utilize resources and links in the application or leave a message on the message board for the diabetes educators or engage with other participants during classes. During this feasibility trial, research team members will add and trial gaming activities to the virtual environment,” Regan said in an email interview.
Professor Regan also talked about her nursing background and COVID-19 as key influencers to this project. While her nursing background exposed her to the struggle recently freed patients have managing diabetes in the real world, COVID-19 made it even harder for patients to seek adequate care and guidance.
“My work as a nurse practitioner and my involvement in other projects around diabetes with the [Department] of Corrections inspired the current project. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting visitor restrictions in all CDOC supervised facilities, our plan to move the in-person Diabetes Survival Skills intervention to supervised community housing facilities was not viable. Through discussion with colleagues … the idea of adapting the PC-based Diabetes Learning in Virtual Environments (LIVE©) to a mobile app [to help people] transition from prison to the community emerged,” Regan said over email.
While mainly focused on assisting patients re-entering society, Regan also said the app allows for more flexibility for all patients with diabetes. Regan stated over email that “mobile virtual environments can open doors to self-management training for many who face barriers (i.e., location, time) to attend traditional in-person programs”.