Diabetes Care@ Atikokan Family Health Team
The Diabetes program is staffed by our Certified Diabetes Educator(CDE) and a Dietitan. Patients don’t need a referral to take part in the program, they can just call 597-8781to make an appointment to see either the nurse or the dietitian. Patients who are in our diabetes program can count on several things. The first is they have a permanent liaison who assists with things like referrals, medication refills and blood work forms. The second is to have a nurse who follows-up with you regarding lab work results, medication questions and concerns, and self-management strategies. The third is regular assessments to monitor treatment effectiveness, disease progression and detect diabetes complications. At each diabetes visit the CDE nurse will:
- Measure height, weight and blood pressure
- Inspect feet for lesions or abnormalities if one or more high-risk foot conditions are present
- Review self-monitoring glucose record
- Review blood work and lab values
- Review/adjust medications to control glucose, lipids, blood pressure
- Review self-management skills, progress toward behaviour change goals, dietary needs, and physical activity as indicated
- Review need for eye and dental exams
- Assess for coping, depression, or other mood disorders
- Counsel on smoking cessation and alcohol use
- Review interventions for weight loss
Regular monitoring for diabetes management is important to assess achievement of treatment goals and to adjust therapy as necessary. Checking regularly for long-term complications can help detect problems at a time when they can be treated and managed successfully. The physical exam, laboratory tests, and other assessments are done to monitor diabetes management and to identify complications early, and should be performed during quarterly diabetes visits, and at annual visits with your doctor.
Point of Care Testing for Patients with Diabetes
Typically, patients with existing diabetes are monitored for HbA1c every three to six months. This generally involves a visit for venipuncture at the lab, with a follow-up appointment one to two weeks later to discuss results once they are available. Now available at the Family Health Team is HbA1c Point of Care Testing (POCT). This involves a finger prick, much like when you test your blood sugars at home and a six minute wait for the results. From a patient experience perspective, use of Point of Care Testing for HbA1c can enhance satisfaction levels. This is because use of POCT means that after just one visit, they can leave with an immediate action plan or relevant prescription, should results indicate the need.
If your blood work shows that you may be at risk for diabetes you may be invited to attend a class led by our CDE nurse which discusses what being diabetic means and different ways you can help prevent yourself from developing the disease. These classes are offered monthly.