west virginia success stories

WV 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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EDC Educators from Mon Health Express Impact of Program to Community

7/11/2019
EDC Logo 5Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program coordinator Susie Sims recently sat down to talk with Pearl Saucier, MS, RD, LD and Sarah Rolenson, RN, both health care providers from Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital, a division of Mon Health. They spoke about the impact of diabetes self-management education on the community. Check out this overview of their conversation.  
 
Rolenson
Rolenson
Why do you think Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) is an important part of your practice and why did you want to participate in the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program?
 
Sarah:  DSME is important to my practice at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital because it allows me to connect with a vulnerable population and provide them with tools to better manage their chronic condition at home. It not only facilitates a strong base for what they should know about daily living but also provides tools to help them have better office visits, promote communication with their health care provider and understand what is being told to them through labs and monitoring regarding their chronic condition.
 
How has your participation impacted your patients? Can you see specific results (such as a lowering of blood glucose on a daily basis, weight loss, etc.)?
 
Sarah:  By participating in this program, I have seen many patients and community members lower their A1C, daily blood glucose values. Some of the attendees have even lost a significant amount of weight. We have one patient who took the class who was already proactive in managing his diabetes. He came to our EDC class with his most recent A1C at 6.9 in September 2018 and a desire to learn more and do even better. 
 
Saucier
Saucier
Pearl:  That patient not only faithfully attended all six free classes, but also scheduled medical nutrition therapy appointments with me for additional nutrition guidance tailored to his specific needs.  He added resistance training to his lifestyle after learning how to use resistance bands in the EDC class. He learned how important exercise is for controlling diabetes. In December his A1C was 4.9!
 
Why is this program important for people in your community?
 
Sarah:  This program is important to our community because it shows individuals with diabetes or prediabetes how they can be successful in managing their own health.
 
Pearl:  The workshops empower those who may feel hopeless, and the participants gain tools and resources for support should they slip.
 
What do you like best about this program? 
 
Sarah: Honestly my favorite part of this program is that it is a free service.  People in our community already struggle daily with income and expenses. Because of this, many avoid doing anything they deem “extra” or “unnecessary” for their health.
 
Pearl:  Due to financial concerns, we find our community members avoid taking classes or becoming educated on their chronic disease. Some even delay going to the doctor for preventative and or maintenance care. We have found that through EDC, community members not only become educated regarding diabetes self-management but the information empowers them to make choices that lead to healthier lifestyles and therefore better managed care. 
 
What are the benefits of this class? For example, what if an attendee thinks he or she already knows enough?  
 
Sarah:  With the workshops being free and in a community setting, we find we are able to reach demographics that otherwise may have avoided the educational opportunity. We have found that the workshops market themselves.  
 
Pearl: The education empowers the participants to better control their diabetes and make wise health care decisions. We have not had trouble recruiting attendees.  Word of mouth travels quickly from satisfied attendees to others with diabetes. Hosting these workshops has allowed us to spread health and wellness throughout our community. 
 
What would you say as a community leader that will encourage people to attend DSME classes?
 
Sarah: When encouraging individuals to attend, we often focus on what our patients’ goals are and then we emphasize the portion of the class that will facilitate them gaining success in that area.  As an example, many times it is to enjoy grandchildren, live longer, enjoy their life, and decrease hospitalizations – all areas that preventative care and health maintenance with chronic disease can impact positively.
 
What would you say to other class leaders regarding recruiting attendees?  What has worked for your team?
 
Sarah: Look at your patient lists for A1Cs above 9 initially. Approach those clients, keep a list, and mail flyers inviting them to class. Promote with your local clinics, church groups, and even weight loss organizations such as TOPS and Weight Watchers. 
 
Pearl: We hold classes in community housing buildings to facilitate interest and access to those who may not otherwise be able to attend. After you host one or two workshops you will find that word of mouth often creates interest.  We have had many recent attendees call to register because they heard from a graduate how helpful the education was.
 
Is EDC a program you would recommend to others? If so, why?
 
Sarah:  I absolutely would recommend EDC to others. The information given to those that participate is on a level at which they can easily understand.  Being able to grasp the information and use it significantly changes lives.
 
Pearl: We have found it to be true that participants must want to change at least a little before they will see improvement.  However, once they begin to utilize the information and tips, we see momentum build and results improve. It is rewarding to see the graduates start to gain control of their diabetes.
 
About the Everyone with Diabetes Counts Program 
 
EDC, which is a national initiative of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), provides free diabetes self-management classes to people with Medicare, their family members and caregivers. The series of classes usually takes place once a week for six weeks, for about two hours each time. Participants learn about healthy eating, action planning, problem solving, self-monitoring, positive thinking, dealing with stress, foot care, medications, exercise and more.
 
Quality Insights coordinates the EDC program in West Virginia. EDC uses the Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) curriculum developed at the Midwest Latino Health Research, Training and Policy Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. DEEP helps individuals better understand diabetes and its management.
 
To learn more about the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program, please contact Susie Sims at (304) 346-9864, ext. 3221 or email ssims@qualityinsights.org.