Diabetic Survival Skills

A Team Approach to Diabetic Education

What is the best time to take blood sugars?
What should I expect my blood sugar to be?
Why is it so important to exam my feet?

It is common questions such as these that has prompted SCKMC to form a proactive group of diabetes care providers to educate newly diagnosed patients, or re-educate patients who have become less vigilant with their diabetic care as time has gone by. The team is headed by the hospital’s Registered Dietitian, Diane Ray, and also includes members of the physical therapy and nursing departments.

Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose (sugar) levels are above normal and cannot be regulated through the insulin produced by the body’s pancreas. The disease affects 25.8 million people in the United States, and 8.5% of Kansas adults. The average medical expenditures among those diagnosed is 2.3 times higher than those without diabetes, totaling $174 billion in 2007.

Diabetes can contribute to serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, stroke, high blood pressure, and lower-extremity amputations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

While diabetes is a disease that should be taken seriously, it is manageable with the proper support.

Ray focuses her time with the patients on their diets. She educates the entire patient’s family on:
basic meal planning
understanding portion size
the importance of eating on a regular schedule
recognizing and treating low blood sugar

Physical Therapy
Nutrition is just one piece of the patient education process. The medical center’s physical therapists focus on exercise and places special emphasis on proper foot care.

The American Diabetes Association website states as many as 33% of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder, such as neuropathy, caused or affected by diabetes at some time in their lives.

Since diabetics typically take longer to heal, the SCKMC nursing staff takes the time to explain to the patients how to properly care for any open cuts or sores, and when to seek additional care from a medical professional.

Additional instruction includes:
taking medications and injections accurately
testing blood sugar levels and understanding the results

Diabetic team education must be ordered by a doctor. Anyone interested in learning more about this program should contact their primary care physician and request a referral to SCKMC for nutritional counseling and physical therapy for diabetics.

What our patients are saying about this service:
“Wonderful, I learned a lot with it, the things I did not know, understand, or do. An excellent program.” -R.F.

“Very informative, knowledgable, and helpful. Plenty of materials.” – J.B.

“Everyone in this hospital has helped me through this diabetes thing, from the lady delivering the information and teaching me about it, to all the nurses showing me how to and when to. Other than the shock of it, you all have got me on the road to recovery. God Bless you, you have been a solid rock for me and my family. We love you, but God loves you more. That’s why you are here doing God’s work. Thanks.” – S.B.