Quality Insights Beneficiary Success Story: Gwendolyn’s Journey through Managing Diabetes
“I’m feeling so good. When I first came here and took the stairs, I would get winded. I came today and I am fine!” Gwendolyn joyfully said. Gwendolyn was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three to four years ago. Gwendolyn wanted to learn more about how to manage her diabetes, so she decided to attend a free diabetes program that was scheduled at a Senior Center in New Jersey. “I made a lot of friends of different nationalities,” Gwendolyn pleasantly stated. She noted that throughout the six weeks, the workshop participants formed a bond and now they can count on one another for support. Knowing that other people in her community were going through similar things that she is, helped her cope. Gwendolyn learned about the guidelines to a healthy meal and now has a good sense of how and what to eat to maintain a healthier and longer life. One thing Gwendolyn does differently since she completed the workshop is that she no longer uses added salt, and now uses spices like Mrs. Dash or paprika. Furthermore, Gwendolyn was really excited that she learned how to read food labels. She now keeps this in mind and utilizes this tool when she goes grocery shopping. Gwendolyn has also been walking more and more and ensures that she is exercising regularly throughout the week. The combination of exercising and healthy eating led Gwendolyn to successfully lose seven pounds. Monitoring blood sugar is another important part of the workshop. Gwendolyn feels more in control and makes sure that her blood sugar levels are in a good range. She now knows what to do if her blood sugar goes too high or too low. “I’m not perfect, but I’m getting there,” Gwendolyn said. Dealing with difficult emotions such as anger, fear and frustration is another topic discussed during the workshop. People with a chronic condition such as diabetes may be more likely to experience these difficult emotions. These emotions are important to manage and Gwendolyn stated that as a result of the workshop, she now knows healthy and positive ways to deal with stress and negative emotions. Gwendolyn also had an action plan of walking to the grocery store once during the day. At the beginning of the next session, each participant reports on their action plan and whether they accomplished it or not. This goal-setting tool tends to work for and benefit many participants because they want to share with the group that they were successful. Gwendolyn has nine energetic grandchildren and five playful great grandchildren that she is motivated to keep up with. Since completing the workshop, she now has the confidence that she will be able to do just that.
Participants in the EDC Program at Enon Baptist Church in Philadelphia talk about the diabetes self-management classes. Watch the video here.
CA B.2 Success Stories
In one of HSAG’s partner-led workshops in San Francisco, a participant, who is a master trainer in both Matter of Balance and Stepping On programs and who works for the AAA, attended one of the DEEP six-week workshops. After completing the workshop, she contacted HSAG and commented, “this class changed my life.” She reported that because of the interactive activities during the training, she learned new skills as well as better eating and exercise habits, and lost 23 pounds. She also wanted to let HSAG know that she is “a walking poster-child of this awesome program” and has signed up to become a peer educator at HSAG’s next training in San Francisco.
Information on Heart Disease Prompts Beneficiary to Seek Care
John attended a Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) classes offered through the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) programs. The course was led by the West Virginia Medical Institute (WVMI), the Quality Innovation Network Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for the state. In the course, participants obtained knowledge, skills and tools for managing their diabetes. During one of the classes, the instructor noticed that John didn't seem well, and he continued to feel worse as the day progressed. He could not tell exactly what was wrong. John remembered some information he learned during one of the DSME classes. The instructor had discussed the signs of a heart attack - a risk factor for diabetes - explaining that the stereotypical sharp chest pain is not always present. The symptoms of a heart attack can include a feeling of pressure in the chest, like one has his exact symptoms. He took an aspirin and had his wife drive him to the hospital. A 100 percent blockage in John's heart required the placement of two stents. John later shared with his DSME instructor and fellow class participants that the information he learned in class saved his life!
North Dakota QIN-QIO's DSME Classes Help Beneficiary Control Blood Pressure
One of the primary components of the EDC Program is offering evidence-based Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) classes to eligible Medicare beneficiaries. QIN-QIOs and their partners recruit, enroll, and teach beneficiaries utilizing evidence-based DSME curricula. DSME classes are taught by certified diabetes trainers and are comprised of weekly group sessions that typically last six to ten weeks. Participants are guided to effectively self-manage their diabetes by learning about nutrition, exercise, self-monitoring, diabetes medications and community resources and support, among other important topics.
In early 2015, the Great Plains QIN-QIO team in North Dakota partnered with a local senior citizen center to offer DSME classes. During the DSME class, at around the third session, one woman disclosed her diagnosis of high blood pressure among other issues she was having. The class trainer asked the woman if she was open to learning how to do self-guided relaxation to help control her high blood pressure. Relaxation exercises are one of the many useful tools provided in the DSME curriculum. The woman was agreeable and said she would practice the exercises and report back her progress to the other participants in the class. During the last session, she reported that she had been using the techniques daily. She explained that she would go into her office at work, close the door and practice the self-guided relaxation.
Following the completion of DSME class, the QIN-QIO received a follow up call from the woman. She was excited to report that at her recent doctor’s appointment, her blood pressure was not elevated. She explained that her primary care provider was very impressed and proud of her work to manage her high blood pressure.
The woman shared that she was very grateful for attending the DSME class and that the self-guided relaxation techniques, along with the general knowledge she gained during the class were very beneficial for her blood pressure management and improvement.
Arizona QIN-QIO Teams Up with the City of Phoenix to Promote Local Seniors Getting Fit and Managing Diabetes
Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG), the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Arizona, California, Florida, Ohio and the U.S. Virgin Islands, has been using the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program to provide and facilitate diabetes self-management education (DSME) training classes to improve the health literacy of Medicare and dual-eligible beneficiaries with diabetes in minority and rural populations.
After conducting successful DSME workshops at City of Phoenix senior centers and hearing positive feedback from participants, HSAG was invited by the city’s Human Services Program Coordinator to present at its FitPHX event. FitPHX, a city-wide healthy living initiative led by Mayor Greg Stanton, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela and Olympic Gold Medalist Misty Hyman, aims to create programs and utilize existing resources to improve health and wellness in the region. The program encourages residents to lead healthier lifestyles, focusing on childhood and adult obesity, nutrition education, walking, bicycling, the use of public transportation and healthy worksites.
On August 3, 2015, a year after the QIN-QIO began offering the EDC program, HSAG staff members participated in a FitPHX Senior Field Day at Paradise Valley Senior Center. HSAG representatives took this opportunity to deliver information on nutrition and diabetes to the more than 200 participants from various senior centers in the Northeast Valley. Senior participants competed in eight different fitness events and visited tables set up around the gaming activities to speak with a variety of vendors throughout the event, including the American Association of Retired Persons and the faith-based Foundations for Senior Living, all of which provided valuable information about healthy lifestyles.
“Our table displayed three different food menus comparing nutrition information in carbohydrates and fats, poster boards about blood pressure control, and additional resources on the importance of healthy eating to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels,” said Padma Taggarse, MMI, MBA, executive director, physician office quality at HSAG. “Our staff members were also able to meet face-to-face with many individuals with diabetes and enlist them to participate in DSME workshops at area senior centers.”
Moving forward, HSAG plans to continue to focus on sustainability planning by training more peer educators who can conduct DSME workshops throughout Arizona. HSAG is also partnering with many community organizations like Lions Clubs, faith-based nurse groups and public libraries throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area to offer DSME workshops. The QIN-QIO’s immediate efforts in Fall 2015 will focus on recruitment at recreational vehicle parks in Phoenix and rural communities to provide self-management education to seniors living in Arizona during the winter months.
“We’re extremely excited about the future of our diabetes self-management programs and the influence we can have on our local population to help make the Phoenix area one of the healthiest in the nation,” said Taggarse.
- Diabetes Self-Management Education/Training (DSME) Reimbursement Toolkit
- Primary Care Provider Guidelines
- Racial Difference in Diabetes Preventive Care
- Retinal Eye Exam Communication Form Toolkit
- Texas Diabetes Council Toolkit
- The Role of Community Health Workers in Diabetes