People who have been diagnosed with diabetes often feel overwhelmed or powerless at times. They do not know where to get the knowledge and skills needed to help manage their chronic illness.
Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) services offered at Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) help ease learning and empower individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes.
“We teach participants how to manage their diabetes and not let diabetes overwhelm or control them,” says Jessica Fisher, RN, diabetic nurse educator at PCRMC.
Unlike some other diseases, medicine alone cannot be used to treat diabetes. Nutrition, exercise, monitoring blood sugar levels and support are ways that DSMES help participants better manage their diabetes and develop healthy lifestyle changes. “Our service complements treatments by providing resources to aid in successful management of diabetes,” Fisher says.
Understanding the causes and symptoms of diabetes increases people’s awareness of the disease. The information and support provided by PCRMC’s diabetes nurse educators encourages participants to determine what lifestyle changes they need to make in order to improve their health and well-being.
PCRMC’s Diabetes Outpatient Clinic provides both group and individual sessions and is designed to meet the participants’ needs. This service is not about doing everything for the participants but rather providing the tools necessary to actively engage and motivate healthy behavioral changes.
Once a primary care provider referral is received, an appointment is made and participants meet with diabetes nurse educators to learn about the services provided by DSMES, identify barriers impacting their disease and identify the goals for diabetes education they want to accomplish.
One option available is a 10-hour diabetes education curriculum divided into four classes, each focusing on a different aspect of diabetes self-management such as basic diabetes information, nutrition and meal planning, monitoring blood sugar and recognizing patterns, sick-day management, short- and long-term complications, screenings and current medications involved in the treatment of diabetes.
Establishing realistic goals while participating in DSMES is key to the successful management of diabetes. Diabetes nurse educators help participants create achievable goals and then evaluate the impact their goals have on their life with diabetes.
Additional services available for DSMES are meter teaching, insulin administration and management, survival skills to manage low blood sugar, glucagon administration and management, and medical nutritional therapy. PCRMC diabetes nurse educators can help with whatever individuals need to meet their challenges.
While participants may have met their goals, care does not stop there. PCRMC diabetes nurse educators continue to follow up with patients at three months, six months and annually. “We care for these individuals just as they were our own family members,” Fisher says.
PCRMC offers a free diabetes support group for diabetes patients, their family members, caregivers and anyone interested in finding out more about diabetes. The support group meets the first Saturday of the month, except for January, July and September, from 10 a.m. to noon in PCRMC Private Dining Room 2.
The PCRMC Diabetes Outpatient Clinic offers services in Rolla and Waynesville. For more information, call 573-458-7314. Services provided at the PCRMC Diabetes Outpatient Clinic require a referral from a primary care provider, internal or family care provider.