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Phelps Health Helps Individuals Manage Their Diabetes

People who have been diagnosed with diabetes often feel overwhelmed or powerless at times. They do not know where to get the knowledge and skills needed to help manage their chronic illness.

Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) services offered at Phelps Health help ease learning and empower individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes.

“We teach participants how to manage their diabetes and not let diabetes overwhelm or control them,” says Jessica Fisher, RN, diabetic nurse educator at Phelps Health.

Unlike some other diseases, medicine alone cannot be used to treat diabetes. Nutrition, exercise, monitoring blood sugar levels and support are ways that DSMES help participants better manage their diabetes and develop healthy lifestyle changes. “Our service complements treatments by providing resources to aid in successful management of diabetes,” Fisher says.

Understanding the causes and symptoms of diabetes increases people’s awareness of the disease. The information and support provided by Phelps Health’s diabetes nurse educators encourages participants to determine what lifestyle changes they need to make in order to improve their health and well-being.

Phelps Health’s Diabetes Outpatient Center provides both group and individual sessions and is designed to meet the participants’ needs. This service is not about doing everything for the participants but rather providing the tools necessary to actively engage and motivate healthy behavioral changes.

“We teach participants how to manage their diabetes and not let diabetes overwhelm or control them.” – Jessica Fisher

Once a primary care provider referral is received, an appointment is made and participants meet with diabetes nurse educators to learn about the services provided by DSMES, identify barriers impacting their disease and identify the goals for diabetes education they want to accomplish.

One option available is a 10-hour diabetes education curriculum divided into four classes, each focusing on a different aspect of diabetes self-management such as basic diabetes information, nutrition and meal planning, monitoring blood sugar and recognizing patterns, sick-day management, short- and long-term complications, screenings and current medications involved in the treatment of diabetes.

Establishing realistic goals while participating in DSMES is key to the successful management of diabetes. Diabetes nurse educators help participants create achievable goals and then evaluate the impact their goals have on their life with diabetes.

Additional services available for DSMES are meter teaching, insulin administration and management, survival skills to manage low blood sugar, glucagon administration and management, and medical nutritional therapy. Phelps Health diabetes nurse educators can help with whatever individuals need to meet their challenges.

While participants may have met their goals, care does not stop there. Phelps Health diabetes nurse educators continue to follow up with patients at three months, six months and annually. “We care for these individuals just as they were our own family members,” Fisher says.

Phelps Health offers a free diabetes support group for diabetes patients, their family members, caregivers and anyone interested in finding out more about diabetes. The support group meets the first Saturday of the month, except for January, July and September, from 10 AM to noon in Phelps Health Private Dining Room 2.

The Phelps Health Diabetes Outpatient Center offers services in Rolla and Waynesville.