PCC Austin launches new diabetes program

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Summer marked a time for change for 12 PCC patients ready to learn how to live each day better with diabetes.

Two groups of six individuals worked with an interdisciplinary team of staff at PCC Austin for four months in a unique medical model of a shared medical appointment.

Groups run with the support of two registered nurses, an advanced practice nurse, an AmeriCorps healthy lifestyle educator and a behavioral health consultant.

As part of the program, the patients receive primary care visits, extensive diabetes education, behavioral health consultations focused on self-management behavior and goal setting, individually tailored health education programs, and group activities – all in one consolidated session.

Future meetings hope to include group conversations with a podiatrist, an ophthalmologist and PCC’s dental director, Dr. Ryan Tuscher.

Last month, nearly 40 patients, staff and community members gathered to celebrate the graduation of PCC Austin’s first diabetes group participants.

The Aug. 20th event opened with a presentation from an “A1C Champion” who shared his own story about life with diabetes. The champion encouraged the audience to consider their own reasons for managing diabetes, including their families, hobbies and dreams.

After the presentation, the diabetes group co-facilitators acknowledged the hard work of the group participants with awards and prizes.

Patients were acknowledged for program completion, perfect attendance, most weight lost and most lowered A1C level (a test that assesses a person’s blood sugar levels over the previous two to three months).

Each program participant beamed with pride as he or she was handed a certificate.

One patient was able to lower her A1C by over six points after only five sessions. By utilizing just diet and exercise changes, she was able to decrease her daily insulin shots from four each day to one.

The graduates and their supporters shared a healthy meal.

When asked what he learned about diabetes from the Diabetes Group, graduate Shames Islam said, “I didn’t know anything, so if I got anything, I got everything!”

Islam’s friend, a community member also diagnosed with diabetes, shared that he was thinking about joining the program.

Two new diabetes groups began Sept. 10th and Sept 17th at PCC Austin. The groups will meet once a month over the next four months with a scheduled January 2014 graduation.

For more information, contact Toni Bush, PCC’s director of development, at 708-524-7687 or tbush@pccwellness.org.

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