According to The American Diabetes Association,1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year, and one in three individuals are projected to develop type 2 diabetes by 2050. Furthermore, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2015.
However, evidence shows the use of diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) has resulted in increased health outcomes for people with diabetes.
DSMES is defined as the process of facilitating the knowledge, skill and ability necessary for diabetes self-care and provides people with diabetes a foundation for navigating important health decisions and activities related to diabetes management.
For one group of 30 diabetes patients at a dialysis center in Atlanta, Georgia, DSMES was much more than that. It was a life-changing experience that led to increased health benefits and provided the much-needed information to cope with a chronic disease effectively.
Beginning in August 2018, Alliant Quality, the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Georgia and North Carolina, partnered with Emory Dialysis Center at Greenbriar in Atlanta for six weeks to provide a series of DSMES workshops to shifts of patients while they were dialyzing.
To kick off the program, Alliant Quality met with Emory Dialysis at Greenbriar’s team to plan how the DSMES could be operationalized and received approval to provide the service. Once approved, the QIN-QIO created marketing materials to promote the workshops and sent trained diabetes peer educators to the site to speak to the patients about the diabetes classes before the first session.
Once the sessions kicked off, Alliant Quality used a series of videos to provide the content at each individual’s chair screen monitor and provided trained diabetes peer educators on site for face-to-face interaction with the patients.
As a result of the program, the patients receiving dialysis at Emory Dialysis at Greenbrier were able to make positive life-altering decisions regarding the management of their disease using a weekly action plan.
For example, one patient who was particularly fond of a certain candy could always be found enjoying it during the program. After working with this patient during the program and talking through an action plan, the patient was able to limit the amount of candy eaten each day.
Another popular goal was related to staying active. Many of the patients in the program put a greater emphasis on completing daily exercise, meeting agreed-upon goals to walk for a required amount of time several times per week.
While patient goals are customized and ranged from better handling stressful days to eating more vegetables, a majority of the patients were able to consistently meet objectives established during the program and are now seeing the health benefits associated with doing so — living healthier lives and more effectively managing their diabetes.