For diabetes patients, managing the condition can mean the difference between living a healthy life and one that’s full of medical complications and hospital stays. Since uncontrolled diabetes can cause a number of co-morbid conditions, from foot wounds that won’t heal to vision loss, keeping blood glucose under control plays a major role in improving diabetes patients’ quality of life.
“The evolution of our population is making it necessary to focus more on managing diabetes,” explains James Mersey, MD, Chief of Endocrinology at GBMC and Medical Director of the Geckle Diabetes and Nutrition Center. “Our aging population is growing as well as our population of overweight patients, both of which are more at-risk for developing diabetes.”
Dr. Mersey and Neal Friedlander, MD, FACP, Chairman of GBMC’s Department of Medicine, are spearheading an initiative committed to improving overall management for diabetes patients across GBMC, from the hospital’s inpatients to outpatients at its primary care and specialty practices.
One major improvement that has been developed as part of the initiative has been changes made to GBMC’s Geckle Diabetes and Nutrition Center. In addition to offering outpatient services such as support groups and nutrition counseling, the Geckle Center will add physician services three days a week so that patients can have their regular endocrinology visit at the same time they come in for their nutrition consult. “The goal is to improve accessibility and convenience for the patient, making it easier to take control of their diabetes,” says Dr. Mersey. “Eventually, we would like to consider getting ophthalmology and podiatry involved so that the Center can be a one-stop resource for our patients.”
Another major focus of the initiative is better education and transitioning of patients from the hospital to home. “Staff may be able to get a patient’s blood glucose under control during their hospital stay, but it’s paramount that patients be able to sustain that control once they are discharged to prevent recurring illness and readmission,” says Dr. Mersey. “We’re emphasizing treatment throughout the continuum of care while also empowering patients to take charge of their own lifestyles.”
To learn more about GBMC’s diabetes services, visit www.gbmc.org/diabetes.