Published October 16, 2007
Volume 15, Number 10

Diabetes and Nutrition Education Program Meets Community Needs

Heidi Kiehl, clinical nutrition manager (bottom, center), and her
staff recommend using the stairs instead of an elevator.

By Barbara Lewis

Recognized by the American Diabetes Association as meeting the National Standards for Excellence in diabetes education since 2002, ValleyCare Health System’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education Program offers many services for patients who are referred by ValleyCare physicians. In addition, it hosts support groups and seminars for those who live and work in the surrounding community, regardless of health plan or insurance coverage. Its location at 5725 W. Las Positas Blvd., Suite 220, makes its services readily accessible to Hacienda workers and residents alike.

According to Clinical Nutrition Manager Heidi Kiehl, the program focuses on the adult population, providing self-management education for those with Type 2 diabetes as well as prevention education for people who have been identified as pre-diabetic. For Type 1 patients, information and counseling on topics such as insulin pump therapy and advanced carbohydrate counting are offered.

“Currently, we are revamping how we deliver diabetes education,” reports Kiehl. “Previously, a patient referred to the diabetes educators attended an initial appointments and four classes within a one-month period of time and then contact ceased. With our new model, we plan to keep patients with us for a minimum of six months, coordinating with doctors to ensure that they receive support over time in obtaining laboratory tests, eye examinations, podiatry appointments, etc. They are entered into our database so that they stay connected to us by receiving a newsletter and other information about services that are available to them. They know we are here for them with leading edge education about their disease.

“Another change we have made in delivering education is through inclusion of many more group appointments and classes with our diabetes self-management and gestational diabetes patients, rather than the traditional one-on-one appointments and lecture classes. The groups work very well because people interact and learn from one another about real-life situations rather than listening to a lecture that they may not be able to relate to or being reluctant to ask questions of a practitioner in the office setting.”

Of interest to Hacienda employees and residents may be Diabetes Support Group meetings offered on the first Wednesday of each month at 12 noon. The meetings are open to the public and free of charge. They are held in the conference room across the hall from the Diabetes and Nutrition Education offices in the ValleyCare Medical Plaza, at the corner of Stoneridge Drive. All people who have been identified as pre-diabetic or diagnosed with diabetes are welcome.

In addition, the ValleyCare Diabetes Program offers quarterly community health education events that are also free and open to everyone. The next is scheduled for Thursday, November 15, 2007, in the same conference room at 5725 W. Las Positas Blvd. Medical Director Mark Christiansen, MD, an endocrinologist, will speak on “Updates in Diabetes”. Kiehl adds, “It’s a mini-health fair, with our medication and supplies vendors exhibiting from 6:30-7:00 pm. Dr. Christiansen will speak from 7:00-8:00 pm and there will be more time for networking and visiting with vendors from 8:00-8:30 pm.”

For more information about the Diabetes and Nutrition Education program, visit www.valleycare.com and click on Services/Programs.


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