According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes. Without access to proper medications, individuals with diabetes can experience severe complications or even death. Many times there can be underlying complications that are rising while the patient still feels fine. Then, all at once, the complications become present and compound.
Recently a patient came in without any idea that he had diabetes. One look at an injury to his foot, and our medical professionals knew two things: 1. He had diabetes and 2. He needed to get to the ER right away and have part of his foot amputated before infection spread throughout his body. Touching base with the patient later that week, he was adjusting to a new diagnosis as a Type 2 diabetic, meeting with a nutritionist, and healing from an amputation.
Since diabetes is widespread in our society, His Hands seeks to offer more comprehensive treatment. First, we have an A1C machine now, which is a test to monitor a patient’s average blood glucose levels over a three-month period. If the person is pre-diabetic, there is a program locally that we can refer them to through the YMCA to help with weight loss and food tracking.
Jennifer Lopez, our diabetes nurse educator, now provides education to any diabetic patient who is willing. She can help them to understand nutrition, health complications that can arise for diabetics, and how to properly administer their medication. Jennifer also uses this time to better understand her patient’s life circumstances. Stress, lack of access to healthy foods, lack of social support, etc. can all impact the way a patient is able to take care of their diabetes. She provides patient follow-up as well and facilitates a class on Chronic Disease Self-Management. In the class, patients can offer support to one another and learn how to cope with a long-term diagnosis.
We want our patients to feel empowered to manage their diabetes and to have the resources necessary to try to avoid further health complications. We appreciate Jennifer for all she does to help invest in our patients!
Amy DeLay, Patient Advocate