Geneia’s Healthcare Heroes: Diabetes care management | Geneia

Geneia’s Healthcare Heroes: Diabetes care management

January 14, 2020
Natalie Benner, Director, Clinically Integrated Programs

Geneia's Healthcare Heroes: Diabetes care management

Delivering holistic care management is a challenging and rewarding endeavor, and nowhere is that more important than in the rising prevalence of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates that one of every seven healthcare dollars are spent to treat diabetes and its complications. In 2017, estimated costs hit $327 billion, up from $245 billion in 2012.

1 in 7 healthcare dollars are spent to treat diabetes and its complications

Diabetes is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation and negatively complicates other conditions such as stroke, high blood pressure, neuropathy, eye complications and skin complications.

Outreach, education and empowerment are critical to slowing disease prevention and keeping people healthy.

At Geneia, we are extremely proud to share care management success stories. Last time, you met Melanie and Jessica in a high-risk maternity case.

Today you’ll meet Brenda and Frank*.

Brenda - Certificed Diabetes Educator, Frank - potential diabetes patient

Brenda is a certified diabetes educator who brings 38 years of experience helping people living with diabetes improve their lives. Her extensive experience as a registered nurse, specializing in mental health enables her to effectively communicate and actively listen to people’s needs and understand how best to help.

Like millions of others, diabetes impacts her family members, both young and old. Brenda knows how this condition affects the whole body, mind and spirit; and how following physician orders and making lifestyle changes helps people live healthy. Her ability to educate and empower people to gain confidence in diabetes self-management helps promote positive outcomes.

One of Brenda’s favorite work stories is that of Frank. Seeing people like him ‘get it,’ make changes, see results and develop feelings of self-efficacy makes everything worthwhile.

Frank is a dedicated IT professional and an amateur trombone jazz musician in his mid-50’s and he, along with millions of other Americans, is facing a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. 

A while back, Frank’s physician diagnosed him as pre-diabetic and recommended lifestyle changes to slow disease progression and help Frank avoid type 2 diabetes. The physician provided a variety of resource materials and asked Frank to come back for regular follow-up appointments.

Frank, however, wasn’t so willing. He didn’t take the recommendations seriously, skipped his appointments, and carried on as he always had. Like many, Frank didn’t understand how living with diabetes would impact every aspect of his daily life.

Sadly, Frank soon found out.

After weeks of feeling lethargic and frustrated at his inability to do the things he loved, Frank returned to his physician, who diagnosed him with type 2 diabetes. Frank left the appointment, prescriptions in hand and a sinking feeling in his stomach. He was overwhelmed and had no idea how to start, let alone maintain a healthier lifestyle.

But then Brenda, one of our diabetes nurse educators, reached out. She assured Frank he could do it, that soon the changes wouldn’t seem so difficult, and he wasn’t alone in this journey. Brenda and Frank established a regular schedule of check-ins and Brenda made sure Frank knew he could talk to her or another diabetes case manager at (almost) any time. Brenda also connected Frank to a nutritionist and helped him enroll in a diabetes education program.

This time, Frank knew he needed help and was motivated.

There were hurdles, of course. Frank was worried about paying for supplies and keeping up with refills. Brenda helped him apply for and receive, a free glucometer, test strips, medications and set him up on automatic delivery.

Frank is more of a musician than an athlete and struggled to find any exercise he liked. Brenda encouraged him to keep trying different things. To Frank’s surprise, he enjoyed a weight-lifting session at a local cross-fit gym and was soon hooked.

Frank adding exercise to his day

Within just five months of ongoing education and support, Frank lost 27 pounds, brought his HBa1c HbA1c to below seven and kept most of his blood glucose levels within normal range.
Frank took control of his type 2 diabetes and was back to doing the things he loved, including playing trombone in a jazz band.

The multi-disciplinary care team does not provide medical care. They assist individuals in getting the care they need.

This story is based on the experience of an individual receiving care from the Geneia clinical care team. The name, likeness and certain identifying details have been changed to protect privacy. This story isn’t meant to give any medical advice or recommend any specific healthcare strategy or course of treatment. If you have specific healthcare needs, or may be in need of healthcare treatment, please see a physician or healthcare professional.

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