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Southwest Memorial earns accreditation for diabetes education

Southwest Memorial Hospital offers a strong diabetes education program. (Photo by Southwest Health System)
Four Corners has higher rate of the disease

Southwest Memorial Hospital Diabetes Education Program has achieved accreditation by the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists.

Accreditation represents a higher level of diabetes service to the community, and the ability to better meet the needs of Medicare recipients and others affected by diabetes in the Four Corners region, states a Southwest Health System news release.

Diabetes education is a covered Medicare benefit when delivered through an accredited program.

According to the 2020 American Health Ranking statistics, the prevalence of diabetes in Colorado averages 7% of the population, lower than the national average of 10.8%.

However, the Four Corners counties that Southwest Memorial Hospital Diabetes Education program serve have a prevalence of diabetes of 12.8%.

SHS’ patient education department sees more than 250 inpatients and outpatients each year for diabetes and nutrition education, medication education and support around making healthier lifestyle choices.

“We are fortunate to have two certified diabetes specialists on staff to meet not only our community’s needs but the regions as well,” said Meghan Higman, director of Inpatient Services and Education.

Southwest Memorial Hospital has two certified diabetes specialists — Jenny Nuuttila and Laura Taylor.

A referral from the participant’s provider is not required to attend these diabetes classes. Anyone can participate. The classes meet on the first Tuesday each month at 3:30 p.m. at Southwest Memorial Hospital, 1311 N. Mildred Road.

Topics covered during the six-week diabetes class include:

  • Understanding diabetes and monitoring blood sugars.
  • Healthy eating and carbohydrate counting.
  • Medications and physical activity.
  • High and low blood sugar management.
  • Understanding diabetes related complications.
  • Living with diabetes.

Diabetes education services utilize a collaborative process through which people with or at risk for diabetes work with a diabetes educator to receive individualized care to help them reach their health goals.

“Evidence shows diabetes education and support is helping people with diabetes to lower their A1c’s and obtain the knowledge and skills to better self-manage their condition,” said Sacha Uelmen, accreditation director for the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists. “That is why we need programs like Southwest Memorial Hospital Diabetes Education Program to make these services available in their community.”

ADCES, is a multi-disciplinary professional membership organization dedicated to improving diabetes care through innovative education, management, and support. Its 14,000 professional members including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, exercise specialists, and practitioners. They work with people who have, are affected by, or at risk for diabetes. Learn more at www.diabeteseducator.org