Thanks to the generous support of the Washington Square Health Foundation, Erie Family Health Centers was able to create programming and new resources to provide high quality services to patients living with and at-risk for developing diabetes.
Through participation in Erie’s “Managing My Diabetes” support group, over half of participants were able to lower their A1C to normal sugar levels. At minimum, patients reduced A1C by one percentage point; however, other patients experienced reductions ranging from 2.8 to 4%. Erie’s patient with the highest A1C level of 10.2 successfully lowered a total of 4 points. Additionally, participants were able to receive their own individual glucometers with telehealth education on how to use the new devices to check their own blood sugar levels at home. This was the first time most of our patients had ever had access to their own glucometer.
Through program evaluations, individual patients shared the following personal comments of impact experienced through their participation:
- Being diabetic for a long time but only now understanding how sugar works in their bodies;
- Feeling empowered to communicate with providers and ask for lab levels;
- Feeling more aware and motivated to make necessary changes;
- Now, regularly checking blood sugar levels at least once per day, compared to never doing so before;
- Noticing their own blood sugar levels dropping;
- Gaining an understanding that regularly checking blood sugar levels as recommended is critically important; they should not only be checking when/if they are feeling symptoms
In addition to supporting Erie’s efforts to provide diabetes prevention and management education directly to patients, this grant also enabled Erie to create several educational resources. First, Erie expanded Erie’s Diabetes Prevention and Management website which includes links to educational handouts, videos, and available support groups and services. Funding also supported the creation of the “Managing Your Diabetes” resource booklet in both English and Spanish; easy-to-use blood sugar logs in English and Spanish, and customized Diabetes Action Plans in English and Spanish.