The Diabetes Education Program at Sampson Regional Medical Center is designed to help the community better understand and manage a disease that affects millions of people in the Untied States.
According to Robin Palmer, Diabetes Program Coordinator, self-management education is an essential component of diabetes treatment. Through the hospital’s program, individuals are offered individual meetings, group classes and a support group that meets monthly.
“With participants who embrace the program, we are seeing improvements in their Hgb A1c,” Palmer said. “Hgb A1c is the average blood glucose over a 90 day period and the goal is seven.”
Through the hospital’s program, Palmer said, there have been 140 people attend the individual and two-part group classes. Along with the individual meetings and the group classes that are offered each month, the Sugar Buddies Support Group meets monthly. Quarterly, the program offers a review or reinforcement so participants can come back and review and practice meal planning and carbohydrate counting.
“Early on in our program, which has been up and running for two years, we recognized that meal planning and carb counting are most challenging for people and as a result, we created the quarterly review class with our dietician,” Palmer said.
The goal of the program, according to Palmer, is to help people change their lifestyle and get in the habit of exercising every day and consistently eating three balanced, healthy meals.
“We have also encouraged people to come back and repeat the class,” Palmer said. “The more they see it, hear it, and practice it, the better they get at it, the more likely it starts becoming second nature.”
Managing diabetes isn’t just about taking medicine and following a routine of treatments. It is about changing a lifestyle, Palmer added.
“When people realize that food and exercise are just as powerful as their medicine, and they are ready to make a lifestyle change, they see results and improvements in their health and their diseases,” Palmer shared. “Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity all respond to lifestyle changes.”
SRMC’s diabetes program has been awarded for their success and efforts.
The program began in January 2014 with the education department working for six months to collect data so the hospital could apply to be recognized by the American Diabetes Association, for quality self-management education and support. The program was officially recognized by the American Diabetes Association in July 2014. Since then, the program has grown and has some great patient success stories.
“Our program consists of a self-management class designed to help individuals better understand how to control their disease, a monthly support group where participants can meet informally to discuss and better understand issues that diabetics face, exercise, and quarterly nutrition reinforcement classes to help individuals stay on track,” Kristy Bland, marketing specialists with SRMC, said.
Palmer said the award is a great accomplishment for the hospital.
“I hope people recognize the importance of this recognition,” Palmer said. “It is a very important recognition after a very rigorous process.”
The Sugar Buddies Support Group met Tuesday night for their final meeting of the year. During the meeting, hospital nutritionist Caroline Holland and Karla Patria performed a cooking demonstration and talked with participants about making proper food choices through the holiday season.
“When you go to a real party, they may not necessarily have diabetic friendly foods,” Holland said. “You have to make adjustments and eat what is available.”
According to Palmer, those who attend the classes and support group are from all walks of life. Some of the participants are diabetic and there to learn more to help manage their own diabetes, while others are there to learn how to help a family member with the disease.
The support group meets the first Tuesday of the month from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Education classes meeting on the third Tuesday and Thursday of the month from 8:30-11 a.m. Nutrition Reinforcement is done on the first Thursday from 1-3 p.m. All the classes and the support group are a free service.
For more information about the program, contact Palmer at 910-596-5406.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.