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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. 


Motivational New Jersey Woman Does Not Let Diabetes Slow Her Down

11/28/2016
Jennifer PictureJennifer, a past educator from Trenton who loves to sing and sew has lived with type 2 diabetes for over 20 years. She has witnessed close friends go through amputations because of lack of care with their diabetes and eating whatever they wanted. It frightened her, so when she found out about a free diabetes program happening at her local senior center in Trenton, she knew right away she would take advantage.

The Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) was developed at the Stanford University School of Medicine and consists of a free six-week workshop series.
 
EDC LogoThe program focuses on behavior modification and discusses a variety of topics including monitoring, healthy eating, exercise, communication, preventing complications, dealing with stress, medication management and much more.

Jennifer especially benefited from the lessons on healthy eating, which were discussed during at least four of the six workshops.

“I never used to look at the amount on my plate,” she said. “I would load up on my food and had no idea.”

Now that the workshops have ended, she is aware of the importance of portion sizes and watches how much she eats of each food. Jennifer also makes sure to regularly implement fruits and vegetables into her meals, which she wasn’t doing previously. Additionally, she learned healthier options for meal planning and ways to reduce fat, such as baking instead of frying.

“I am exercising and I feel good,” Jennifer said.

As part of her new routine, she now exercises on her stationary bicycle once to twice a day. Furthermore, prior to the workshops, she had some trouble going up and down stairs, but now, she goes up stairs with ease.

“I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, and it’s working,” Jennifer proudly said.

Jennifer loved that the workshops helped her make friends in her community. She keeps in touch with the people she met and they often give each other support and encouragement. Diabetes can be a very challenging disease, and it gave Jennifer some relief and a sense of comfort to know that she isn’t going through it alone. Moreover, Jennifer appreciated the two facilitators of the workshop and how they allowed questions and reinforced interaction among the group.

“It’s overwhelming to get all this information and not have to pay for it,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer hopes to make a difference and help others like her have a better life. She plans to get trained in the program and become a Peer Leader so she can facilitate workshops in her community.

“If you have diabetes, it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Jennifer said. “You can still have fun. People have all kinds of health problems – high blood pressure, cancer – it’s a part of life. We’re not in this alone. We weren’t made to be perfect, but we can make a better life by learning about our health needs.”

Jennifer aspires to motivate other people with diabetes to take control of their health, participate in this free program and create a better quality of life for themselves.

Supported locally by Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc. (HQSI), Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network offers DSMP throughout New Jersey as part of the national Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) project. If you are interested in learning more about the workshops that Jennifer attended, hosting workshops, or being trained, please contact Jarmaine Williams at (732) 955-8168 or jwilliams@hqsi.org. To view upcoming workshops in your area, visit this page.