Pennsylvania success stories

PA Local 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. 

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Community Advocate Uses Diabetes Classes to Help Empower Patients

EDC logoAs the supportive services coordinator for three low-income senior living apartment buildings in Central Pennsylvania, Marge Gore is always looking for ways to improve the health and well-being of her residents. A strong advocate of patient empowerment, Marge gives her residents tools and resources to self-manage their lives. That is why she found the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) initiative to be a good fit for her needs.
EDC in Pennsylvania uses the Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) curriculum created by the University of Illinois at Chicago. DEEP teaches people with diabetes and/or their caregivers the skills they need to be in control of their health. Consisting of six weekly classes, participants learn about diabetes risks, nutrition, weight management, how to properly manage medications and much more. Based on group interaction and working together, the classes empower and inspire the participants to feel confident about their health and themselves.
Marge’s professional goal has always been empowering individuals to take control of their behavior and she feels that the best way to do so is through education. “I can’t thank the EDC team enough for providing our residents the opportunity to learn about diabetes management. I can tell you from experience that overall many are making healthier food choices. I have seen a greater interest in exercise and follow-up with physicians,” says Marge.
The EDC program relies on advocates in our communities, like Marge, to help promote programs that enrich the lives of older adults and those with diabetes. When holding the diabetes self-management classes at each property, Marge provided healthy snacks, such as nuts, hummus, fresh fruit and vegetables and beverages for each class. With each snack, she read the nutritional content and mentioned where it was purchased and how much it cost. This not only gave the residents a chance to try new foods but to demonstrate that healthy can taste good, as well as be affordable and easy to obtain. Marge’s final classes concluded with a luncheon, where the participants received their Certificates of Completion.
As Marge completed her annual Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) program reports for 2017, she realized that the DEEP program was one of the highlights of the year. In addition to residents taking better care of themselves, Marge has also seen the program bring residents together. “Residents seem to support and applaud each other’s efforts too,” she said.
Though the classes may have concluded, the take-aways remain. Marge explains, “The handouts that accompany the course are a great reminder for residents and they refer to them from time to time. Many who are pre-diabetic are determined to keep their blood sugar under control in ways they learned from your classes.” Marge adds, “I myself am more aware of lower sugar/carb refreshments that I provide at our programs.”
While Marge would recommend the free classes to those who have diabetes, her recommendation extends beyond just those individuals. “Honestly, I believe your program can benefit just about anyone who wants to learn about health and wellness.”
One way Marge will continue to encourage people to take control of their own health is by serving on the Everyone with Diabetes Counts Advisory Panel. Panel members develop innovative ways to expand diabetes self-management education through brainstorming, networking, and collaborating in order to recruit Medicare beneficiaries, keep them motivated, and maintain sustainable programs in their communities.

           EDC Class participants
Pictured: Residents celebrate completing the EDC course.
Marge says, “They really felt a great sense of accomplishment!”