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Vidant Health new model of care helps treat and educate diabetes patients

November 19, 2014 posted by Amy Holcombe

In the U.S. today, about one in 10 people have diabetes. In eastern North Carolina, the percentage is higher, with some counties having nearly one of six people with the disease. African-Americans are 2.5 times more likely to die from diabetes than Caucasians.

“These statistics point out the tremendous disparity in both the prevalence of diabetes in eastern North Carolina (versus the rest of the state) and the excess loss of life of African-Americans with diabetes that live here,” said Dr. Robert Tanenberg, professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, ECU Brody School of Medicine, and Medical Director for Diabetes at VMC.

Vidant Health implemented an interdisciplinary diabetes care model to best manage the needs of a diabetic patient. The model is made up of a team of medical and surgical providers, bedside nurses, case managers, nutritionists and pharmacists. “Diabetes belongs to everyone,” said Sandra Hardee, PharmD, CDE, diabetes program manager at Vidant Medical Center. “It cannot be a disease managed by specialists, because each caregiver shares the responsibility for assuring a patient’s safe transition to the next level of care.” 

The key to the model is focused on teaching the patient four diabetes survival skills: medications, glucose monitoring, hypoglycemia recognition and teaching, and establishing a contact with a health care provider after being discharged. “I had a great care team,” said Julian Liddell, a diabetes patient at Vidant Medical Center. “They made it easy for me to understand what having diabetes means, and they did a great job on explaining how to better take care of myself.” The care from Julian’s team did not stop once he left the hospital. “They called to check in on me and my progress and set me up with a provider in my community to help me manage my diabetes care.”

Recognizing that health care is complicated and hard to navigate, especially for patients with chronic diseases like diabetes; Vidant Health is dedicated to building a culture that promotes patient engagement. 

Beatrice Jones of Ahoskie had struggled to control diabetes for years, even while taking medication for it, until she met Terry Koch, RN, diabetes case manager at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital. Terry made regular visits to Beatrice in her home and taught her about healthy eating, portion control and other healthy behaviors. Terry also introduced home-based telehealth monitoring so Beatrice could relay health information each day to Terry. Beatrice learned Terry was closely watching her progress, and the two soon developed a bond of trust and a common objective. Now Beatrice has her diabetes under control with medication and all she learned from Terry about taking care of herself. She no longer needs monitoring and she regularly attends a diabetes support group. 

Vidant Health hospitals partner with community organizations across the region to sponsor free support groups for people with diabetes and their family members or caregivers. There is no registration or physician referral needed. There are groups in Ahoskie, Edenton, Greenville and Windsor. 

Vidant Health also offers diabetes educational programs at various locations throughout the region including, Ahoskie, Edenton, and Greenville. The programs are free and do not require a physician referral.

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