Knox Community Hospital (KCH) offers a program called, “Living with Diabetes” which helps educate and support patients as they manage the disease, which is in the spotlight as November is Diabetes Awareness Month. The Diabetes Education team at KCH includes a dietician, and a registered nurse.
Patients are referred through their primary care physicians or endocrinologists, stated Alyson L. Pratt, a registered nurse and the hospital’s director of the specialty programming.
“The first appointment is a health assessment,” she said. “It’s a one-on-one appointment with our diabetes educator. We get to know the patient. We look at their medical background, assess any risk factors that may be contributing to diabetes, their medications, and their exercise.”
“We also offer free support groups on the second Thursday of each month. Everyone is welcome to join and they do not need to be a current patient. Anyone interested contact our team at 740-393-9797 for details and to RSVP.”
“There are more than 30 factors that contribute to a person’s blood sugar,” stated Jaime Goodman, MD, Endocrinologist with KCH, adding that stress and illness play a role.
The program then develops an individual plan for classes to teach them more about diabetes.
“We can teach patients how to check their own blood sugar and how to administer insulin,” Pratt said. “We have classes on meal planning, carbohydrate counting, and food label reading.”
In some cases, patients may eventually get off medication through diet and exercise, she said.
“We always want the patient to be in control and make goals that are meaningful to them,” she said. “That’s why that first appointment is held before we start classes so we can really hone in and see what the patient would like out of their diabetes education.”
The ultimate goal is to achieve the best life possible for patients, said Pratt.
“We want the patient to be healthy and functioning,” she said. “Sometimes, down the road and adhering to physician’s guidance, they can end up living their diabetes journey through just diet and exercise, frequent monitoring and working with their physicians.”
As part of the program, the hospital connects patients with community resources where they get additional help in improving their health.
“We suggest patients go to the local farmer’s markets, for example,” said Pratt. “We try to connect them with local resources that can further assist them.”
“Treating diabetes is a collaborative process that is highly dependent on a person’s involvement in their own disease management,” stated Dr. Goodman.
Knox Community Hospital’s diabetes education program is accredited through the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists.