Louisiana success stories

LA Success Stories
Quality improvement endeavors can often feel overwhelming, but chances are, you can learn from the experiences that another physician, hospital or nursing home has had in a similar situation. Coupled with support from Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, learning what has worked for others — and what didn't — is a valuable strategic planning component. 

We encourage you to read the success stories, contact us for more information, and also let us know if you have a Quality Insights' success story to share.

Life Was Just Beginning: Jane's Story

EDC LogoThis is the story of “Jane,” a 30-year-old student at the Affiliated Blind of LA Training Center in Lafayette, LA.  Jane has multiple chronic health problems, primarily due to her inability to adjust to her diabetes diagnosis twelve years ago. Her conditions include hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetic nephropathy resulting in renal failure and requiring hemodialysis, two strokes, and diabetic retinopathy. 
Jane was 18 when she was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes Mellitus.

“I felt like life was just beginning and I just wanted to be normal,” she said.  

Jane rejected her diagnosis and continued to live as she always did. She enjoyed her regular diet and refused to follow her doctor’s care plan, take her prescribed oral diabetic medications (Metformin and others), and incorporate recommended lifestyle changes.  

She went through months of incapacitating depression, in spite of support offered by her mother and others. During this time, she experienced extreme weight loss and other complications, including total blindness for five months.  Jane now has some sight in her right eye and uses a talking glucometer to check her blood sugar four times each day.  She requires insulin for blood sugar control now, using a FlexPen® to administer the insulin.

When she began taking classes through the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program, Jane told her instructor she’d never had any education in managing her diabetes. She was very motivated and responsive.

“Now I have to deal with it (diabetes) and the damage from neglecting myself,” she said.   

At the time, class materials were not available for the visually-impaired, so the instructor focused on verbal instruction and dialogue.   Plastic body parts were used so that Jane could touch and feel. She remembered information from her biology class in school and said she could picture some of what she was learning through Modules 1 and 2: Understanding the Human Body and Risk Factors for Diabetes.  This approach also worked well in Module 5: Controlling Diabetes through Nutrition, when she used measuring cups and spoons, divided plates for portions and more. In conversations about physical activity in Module 4: Physical Activity and Diabetes, Jane said she was getting enough exercise walking the halls and stairs at the center and on group walks around town.     

Jane is now conscientious about her self-care and has completed her training at the center nearly a month ahead of schedule. She plans to live in Lafayette afterward.  

She still feels overwhelmed by her diagnosis and related health problems, but now recognizes the importance of taking care of herself.

“I have to put one foot in front of the other and get on with it,” she said.

After discussion with her healthcare team, Jane has joined a local gym and will work with staff there to incorporate appropriate exercise into her routine as approved by her physician(s).  She’s also on the transplant lists for a pancreas and a kidney.

When asked what she would say to her younger self she said, “Don’t be foolish or you’ll end up like me.”

As part of the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program, Quality Insights facilitates free diabetes education classes throughout Louisiana. If you are interested in learning more or getting involved, contact Chris Gatlin, Quality Improvement Manager, at (225) 248-7035 or christine.gatlin@hcqis.org.