Trinity Health opened its Center for Diabetes Education in its new location at Town & Country mall, and staff have already seen an increase in awareness about Trinity's diabetes education services.
"In this new location we get more exposure, and we are more accessible," said Deanna Westman, registered nurse and diabetes education coordinator. "Being here gives the community more knowledge of our services. We've already had the general public stopping by."
The center has three education rooms for individual diabetes education, a clinical dietitian on site and a resource room for the general public to get information on diabetes. The resource room also offers cancer care information.
Katina Tengesdal/MDN - - Deanna Westman, registered nurse and diabetes education coordinator, shows a diabetes education room. Westman educates patients one-on-one with a variety of resources.
Katina Tengesdal/MDN - - From left: Antonella Shelby, office assistant, Deanna Westman, registered nurse and diabetes education coordinator, Michelle Fundingsland, clinical dietitian, and Rebecca Haman, registered nurse and diabetes educator.
"In the resource room, the public can get a look at what a (blood sugar) meter looks like outside of the box," Westman said. "We have a computer to look up information, videos and brochures all to enhance education."
The new location has also made it possible for diabetes education staff to organize new programming. They have started a walking club and participants can log their mileage in the resource room or meet with other walkers Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m. by the center.
The center is also offering group education classes on diabetes management.
"Typically, we had always done individual education," Westman said. "Group classes will involve six to eight participants in a classroom setting."
"The benefit of the group is that we can learn from each other," she added. "We learn a lot from our patients, and it's nice for them to be able to share with their peers things that have worked well for them."
Trinity diabetes education staff visit with an average of 75 to 100 patients a month. Patients are referred by their physician, and come to diabetes education for a variety of reasons.
"Some that come in are newly diagnosed," Westman said. "Some come in because they have complications. Some come in because they are just starting insulin or they are starting a new meal plan."
"There are always new medications and new technologies coming out, and the A1C standards change over time," Westman said. "We can offer education on medications, we want them to know why they are taking them and what the medications are doing for their diabetes."
While in the new location, Westman hopes the center can continue to offer more information for the general public, and ongoing education for patients with diabetes and their families.
"There's a large percentage of diabetic patients who have never had education and we encourage them to come in," Westman said. "Also there may be some who had education a long time ago, and we encourage them to come in for updates to see what's changed."