Know your risks of diabetes–and get help to manage or avoid the disease

The fourth Tuesday of March is National American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert Day –a day to understand the seriousness of the disease that over 30 million Americans have.

Diabetes is when blood sugar, or blood glucose, is too high and insulin, a hormone in the body, is unable to transport glucose to the blood or cells. In addition to gestational diabetes which is brought on by pregnancy and usually resolved after birth, there are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes–formerly called juvenile diabetes–is when the pancreas doesn’t make insulin the body needs. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin, injected via shot or through a pump, for the rest of their lives to manage their health. Type 2 diabetes, usually diagnosed when people are older, is when the body can no longer respond to insulin as it should. Unlike type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes can manage the severity of the disease or even prevent the disease through healthy lifestyle choices. And with seven million people living with the disease who don’t know it, use Diabetes Alert Day as a “wake up” call to evaluate your health–and the health of those you love. If you’re at risk, take the American Diabetes Association risk assessment survey and talk to your primary care provider.

Diabetes Education at Pender Community Hospital
At Pender Community Hospital, experts help patients manage diabetes and maximize their health. From education about the disease’s impact on the body, to tools and resources to help patients prevent long-term problems, Stacie Petersen, Registered Nurse (RN), Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) and Clinical Health Coach, explained how the team personalizes care to help people live their healthiest lives. She urges people to use the resource for education–and ongoing support after the course.

The comprehensive services of Pender Community Hospital Diabetes Education include:

  • Help with all aspects of care. From help with medication, monitoring blood sugars, to suggestions on diet and exercise, care is personalized to each person. “I provide education on healthy eating, activity, monitoring blood sugars, medications including starting injections, problem solving, healthy coping, and risk factor reduction,” Stacie said. “I train people to monitor blood sugars and start insulin or other injectable medications, instruct people how to use continuous glucose monitors and am able to assist with insulin pump adjustments/issues.” Stacie said the team also follows up after education plans are complete to make sure patients were successful if adjustments and changes were made to their care protocol.
  • Connecting patients to additional resources and assisting with patient referrals. The Diabetes Education team stays current on the latest resources to help patients. “I can assist patients with referrals for various services they require. I also serve as a “bridge” for people with diabetes and their health care provider to address various diabetes-related issues,” Stacie said.
  • One-on-one education. “We do individual face-to-face sessions here at Pender Community Hospital,” Stacie shared. “We have a formal curriculum that we follow and use reputable materials that are approved by the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists.”
  • Personalized education for patients and their families. “The sessions are patient-driven and are individualized to each person,” said Stacie. “They are interactive, and I encourage family members to attend. Attendees receive printed resources, discharge instructions, contact information, and a follow-up phone meeting is set after education. I encourage them to call if they have any questions and concerns.”
  • Help setting health goals. Educators work with patients to set individualized goals, based on their priorities. The team focuses on seven key self-care behaviors during sessions: healthy eating, an active lifestyle, monitoring blood sugars, guidance for taking medication, problem solving, healthy coping and reducing risks.

What should you know about Pender Community Hospital & Medical Clinics Diabetes Education?

  • Accredited Diabetes Education program through the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists. Having an accredited program is a notable accomplishment for a smaller healthcare system. This accreditation allows the facility to provide structured, quality formal education that meets the national standards required for diabetes education. PCH also has a diabetes educator who has met the criteria to become a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. This certification means she possesses comprehensive knowledge and experience in diabetes prevention and management.
  • Available through telehealth. PCH also does diabetes education via telehealth. Patients have two-way interactions with a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist from the comfort of their homes using a smart-phone, computer, tablet or other electronic device with audio and visual capabilities.
  • On-staff clinical dietitian. A registered dietician provides nutrition consultations and services are covered by Medicare, and most insurances, for people with diabetes. Appointments are scheduled by PCH health coaches.
  • Health Coaches. Health coaches are registered nurses who help patients with their diabetes management. At Pender Medical Clinic, health coaches can help patients during and after clinic appointments.
  • Covered by most insurance plans. Diabetes education is a covered benefit under Medicare and most insurance plans but patients are encouraged to check with their insurance providers.
  • A referral is needed. Ask your primary care provider for a referral to diabetes education from PCH.

Call for more information.
Stacie urges anyone interested in diabetes education to speak to their health care provider or contact her directly at 402-385-1956 with questions.