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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Senior Center Director Offers Three Cheers for Diabetes Class Instructors

EDC logoAs the Assistant Executive Director and Program Director of the Coatesville Area Senior Center (CASC), George Ramon found the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) initiative to be a good fit for his members.

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.
senior center photo
Pictured: Graduates of the Everyone with Diabetes program proudly display their certificates. 
At right: George, Vicki (front) and Angela.
“Empowerment through education is my mantra here at CASC and the DEEP Program hit every note – interactive, informative, offering free, fun and life changing opportunities to the most vulnerable in our community,” says George. “I had no option but to say YES! Many seniors are living with and are affected by diabetes, and are forced to make the decision between medicine and food. With an educational tool like DEEP, the possibility to affect people’s lives through education is a win-win for all involved.”
The EDC program relies on advocates in our communities, like George, to help promote programs that enrich the lives of older adults and those with diabetes. When offering the classes, George employs a “tough love” approach. Some techniques he uses include requiring pre-registration and removal from the program for missed classes. He explains, “It’s very important that seniors be selfish when it comes to taking care of their health. Many people put the needs of others before their own at the detriment of their own well-being. I consider diabetes to be a national health crisis, and I firmly believe in the ‘putting your oxygen mask on first’ mentality. Diabetes is no joke. Taking care of one’s own health is of tantamount importance – give yourself one hour over six weeks to take charge of your health, learn life skills around diet, exercise, medicine management and action plans!”
In addition to encouraging class attendance and participation, George discusses action plans with CASC members and motivates them to succeed with the program. “I encourage dialogue between the DEEP graduates and people who have questions around diabetes as well as those who were unable to attend the sessions,” he says. “I make sure they stick to their action plans and will gently nudge them to ‘remind me’ what was learned in class. Accountability is key to their success at managing their diabetes.”
So far class attendees have been pleased with their results. “The graduates were proud of the commitment they made to themselves for attending and learning something new,” George shares. “The interactive element is crucial for investment in the program. They really loved how the information was broken down and was delivered in very palatable, easy-to-understand lesson plans. It’s imperative for all people to accept that if we stop challenging ourselves to learn, we lose it and life becomes not so fun!”

In addition to his appreciation for Everyone with Diabetes Counts program and how it has impacted his members, George expresses his thanks to Quality Insights’ instructors who taught the classes. “I am beyond grateful and give kudos to Vicki and Angela – their energy and concern for our seniors is palpable and I value their knowledge, time and commitment to this program. It’s programs like DEEP that bring people and community together and I found myself both happy and sad on graduation day – thrilled for the students and their experience, tinged with melancholy since our time with the DEEP team had come to an end.”
As a final thought, George has three cheers for Vicki and Angela, “HIP HIP HURRAY – HIP HIP HURRAY – HIP HIP HURRAY!”