Driving diabetes message home
For Lynn Kelsey, there is an obvious way for the medical profession to understand how to work with people who have diabetes.
Think of the patient as the driver of a bus.
Sometimes, the bus might have an L on it and the driver needs a co-pilot to help them along — but, they’re still the one doing the driving.
They decide who comes along and who doesn’t.
They know where they’re going — and the medical team working with them needs to do its part on the trip alongside the driver.
“I’m in control,” Kelsey said.
“I do need support, but I’m in control.”
Kelsey, who lives in Penticton, is an advisor to an Interior Health Authority (IHA) 18-month project aimed at improving the system of care for adults with Type 2 diabetes.
It’s part of a three-year plan the IHA has developed and involves patients, the medical system, pharmacists and other caregivers in Kamloops, Kelowna, Williams Lake and Lillooett.
Overseen by Colleen Kennedy as director and with Dr. Maureen Clement handling the medical side, the project is looking at how the system can work better to meet the needs of, and fill the gaps experienced by, people with diabetes.
That’s a large community in the IHA area, with an estimated 53,000 people being treated for the disease, 8,000 of them in Kamloops.
That number doesn’t include adults who have the disease, but have not been diagnosed, Kennedy said at a press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 17, during a two-day regional meeting of collaborative participants at Thompson Rivers University.
Clement said a cornerstone of the approach the collaborative is promoting is to have people with diabetes manage their own care, with support from those who provide that care.
Kelsey said a hospital stay she had demonstrated how the health-care system needs to adjust to allow this to happen.
Her insulin and glucose monitors were taken from her during the stay and the nurses took on those functions.
“They were doing to me. They were doing for me,” Kelsey said.
“But they didn’t consider me. Nothing about me without me. That’s my view.”
Type 2 diabetes: The basics of the disease
Your body gets energy by making glucose from foods like bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, milk and fruit.
To use this glucose, your body needs insulin, which is a hormone that helps your body control the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood.
Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your pancreas does not produce enough insulin or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes.
If you have type 2 diabetes, glucose builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy.
You can live a long and healthy life by keeping your blood glucose levels (the amount of sugar in your blood) in the target range set by your doctor.
You can do this by eating healthy meals and snacks and getting regular physical activity.
— from diabetes.ca