By Andrea Stafos, DNP, APRN, ANP-BC, BC-ADM
Manager and Diabetes Clinical Specialist
Nutrition and Diabetes Education Center
Shawnee Mission Health
Living with diabetes is challenging, but possible.
If you are living with diabetes, you know the realities of life happen when you are not in your doctor’s office. Home is where you’re faced with many decisions about managing your care. The ultimate impact on your health can be overwhelming to consider.
Your diabetes educator is an important member of your diabetes care and support system who is there to help you on this journey.
The American Diabetes Associations (ADA) recommends that people living with diabetes engage in diabetes education at four critical times. These include:
AT DIAGNOSIS – You may be new to certain medications, blood sugar monitoring, healthy eating or exercising. Maybe your busy work schedule makes many of these new activities challenging to fit in. Maybe you are not sure what to eat, or how to get your blood sugars under control. The diabetes educator can answer your questions and help you create a plan for your busy lifestyle.
ANNUALLY — Think about the fast-paced world of technology and how often things change. Keep in mind that your diabetes will change over time, as will the advances in healthcare. Ask your doctor to share new advancements in care throughout the year.
WHEN NEW COMPLICATING FACTORS RISE – For example, if you notice your vision is getting worse, it may make it harder to check your blood sugar or take your medication. Record when these times occur and share with your doctor.
WHEN A TRANSITION IN CARE OCCURS – Let’s say you change to a new insurance plan. This change can impact your diabetes care plan. Ask about and enroll in plans that support your healthcare needs.
A diabetes educator can offer support and resources in all of these situations to help you plan your next steps. Your personal plan will include discussing every aspect of your life to find practical solutions for the challenges you may be experiencing.
Is diabetes education covered by insurance?
Diabetes education provided by a recognized program is billable to insurance. Most plans, including Medicare, cover 80% of the cost, but you should always check with your individual plan for coverage.
Looking for a recognized diabetes education program near you?
The ADA has a website that that helps you search programs by ZIP code:
Does the American Diabetes Association have resources to help me live healthy with diabetes?
Yes! Depending on your preference, you can subscribe to a mailing, email or podcast such as Diabetes Forecast ® (http://www.diabetesforecast.org/?loc=bb-dorg).
Diabetes Food HubTM provides solutions to daily meal planning challenges with features such as the Meal Planner, Grocery List and Healthy Eating Tips.
Source: American Diabetes Association 2017 National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support.
Andrea Stafos is an advanced-practice nurse specializing in diabetes care. She is a diabetes clinical specialist for disease-specific inpatient certification in Advanced Diabetes Care at Shawnee Mission Health.