Living Well with Diabetes

Diana Madsen, Program Developer

The newest program training offered through MNRAAA is the Living Well with Diabetes program, otherwise known as Diabetes Self-Management Program. This program was added to the strong line-up of evidence-based program Leader Training that MNRAAA offers, due to the successful outcomes of the program.

Originally developed as a Spanish curriculum, Living Well with Diabetes was translated to English and a controlled study was completed by Stanford Patient Education Research Center, thus noted as evidence-based. Participants demonstrated significant improvements in depression, symptoms of hypoglycemia, communication with physicians, healthy eating and reading food labels. These improvements, along with self-efficacy, or the patient’s ability to manage their condition, were evident in patients who attended the workshop series not only for the first six months, but beyond.

Living Well with Diabetes does not replace existing programs or treatments, but rather compliments the education offered by diabetic educators and health care providers. If any of the program content conflicts with instruction they receive elsewhere, participants are advised by the program leaders to follow their physician’s orders and discuss concerns with their physician or health professional.

Diana Madsen and Lynn Buckley, MNRAAA Program Development staff, led a workshop in January 2017. Madsen said, “In our experience, there were noticeable changes in program participants.” One physician contacted the local diabetic educator and expressed her amazement at the transformation in attitude and improved communication with one patient who attended the six-week workshop. Others said the workshop helped them find renewed energy to read food labels and focus on the issues that affect their diabetes, even though they entered the class feeling tired of monitoring and “dealing with” their diabetes. “It was most gratifying to know that the participants were amazed at how quickly the six-week program went and expressed regret that the group would not be meeting together regularly,” said Madsen. Participants were encouraged to self-organize and continue to support one another in this journey.

MNRAAA offers two types of training opportunities for organizations interested in training volunteers and staff to lead the program. Standard training for new leaders consists of a four-day training, in which leaders walk through the program curriculum as participants, and then demonstrate their ability to lead the workshop through practice teaching assignments. Participants receive the program leader manual, agree to provide the program as outlined by Stanford Patient Education Research Center, and learn tips on implementing the program. For people that are already trained in Living Well with Chronic Conditions, there is a one-day cross-training offered to become a leader for Living Well with Diabetes. Since the method of teaching these two programs is similar, the cross-training provides an opportunity to learn the unique curriculum components of Living Well with Diabetes without re-training the teaching methods.

The programs are most effective when relationships with health care providers are established to build a referral system for the program. With outcome-based reimbursement being a viable solution for financial sustainability in healthcare, timing is ripe to introduce these programs to health care providers. Unfortunately, many providers are not aware of evidence based programs, their content or outcomes, so it is critical for implementing organizations to develop a strategy to educate providers about these programs and demonstrate how patients can benefit from them. MNRAAA is working to develop a toolkit to help assist implementing organizations as they begin those conversations with providers and work to build a referral mechanism to drive participants to the programs. Collaboration is key to the success of any health promotion program.

MNRAAA is hosting several upcoming training opportunities for Living Well with Diabetes:

  • Cross-Training (for leaders trained in Living Well with Chronic Conditions) – July 25, 2017 from 9 am -5 pm in Hutchinson
  • New Leader Training – October 2-5, 2017 from 9 am – 4:30 pm in Redwood Falls
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