Launches HealthWorks Achieving Balance with Diabetes
Teaching patients how to control their blood sugar through diet modification and exercise is the goal of HealthWorks Achieving Balance with Diabetes, a comprehensive diabetes education program recently launched by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
The six-week program consists of an individual assessment visit and small group classes taught by a multidisciplinary team of nurses, dietitians, social workers and pharmacists. Physicians also consult with the healthcare team.
We have purposely limited our class size to less than 10 participants so that the healthcare team can discuss and teach diabetes management in a small, interactive group setting, explained Renee Liberoni, MPH, Health Education Specialist and Program Coordinator for HealthWorks. The program design allows HealthWorks to function as a support group as well as an education program since the participants get the opportunity to share personal experiences and learn from them.
Day and evening classes lead participants through discussions on the function of diabetes medications, proper blood sugar monitoring and the role diet and physical activity play in controlling blood sugar levels.
Demonstrating a cause and effect relationship between diet, lifestyle and blood sugar levels shows patients that making even small adjustments in what they eat or their level of activity can help them gain control over the disease, said Ms. Liberoni. This process teaches patients problem-solving skills that they can use to manage diabetes in their daily lives.
At each group session, patients are provided with a healthful lunch or dinner that is used as a teaching tool. Dietitians on the team share the recipe and explain how the meal can become a part of a healthful diet., HealthWorks also provides free blood sugar meters and strips to patients who do not have the correct supplies at home.
It is the goal of our program to provide patients with the knowledge and tools they need to become empowered to control their diabetes themselves, said Corina Graziani, MD, Instructor in Family Medicine at Jefferson Medical College.
HealthWorks will provide patients with the opportunity to attend follow-up sessions, more advanced continuing education programs and a support group. Patients incur no out-of-pocket costs by participating in HealthWorks.
Jefferson plans to utilize HealthWorks as a model for additional patient education.programs for asthma and other chronic diseases in the future, said Ms. Liberoni.
For more information on HealthWorks Achieving Balance with Diabetes or to register for the program, please call 215-955-6400 or 1-800-JEFF-NOW.