A Diabetes Diagnosis Can Be Scary, But a Diabetes Educator Can Help
How Do You Get Diabetes Education?
Diabetes education is often prescribed by a primary care provider, who writes a referral. Diabetes education programs, sometimes called diabetes self-management training, are found in a variety of places – hospital outpatient facilities, clinics, doctors' offices, to name a few – and staffed by diabetes educators. These specialists focus on all aspects of diabetes care, and are also skilled in counseling, education, and communication.
What Do Diabetes Educators Do?
Diabetes educators teach people with diabetes how to manage their diabetes and live their healthiest life. Diabetes educators ask many questions to better understand your goals and challenges, and then, together, they develop a diabetes self-management plan with you that works for you.
For example, diabetes educators can help you understand how certain favorite foods affect your blood sugar, how to fit a prescribed medication into a daily routine, and how to lower the risk of diabetes-related complications. Your plan can include advice on everything from getting through the excesses of holiday dinners and parties to coping with the challenges of managing diabetes while traveling for work or fun.
Diabetes education is not a lecture on what not to do. It’s real-life guidance, coaching, and support proven to help you understand exactly how to best manage your diabetes, and to feel less alone while you're doing it.
Diabetes education takes place in group or one-on-one settings, and in formal or informal formats.
Does Insurance Pay for Diabetes Educators?
Diabetes education is a recognized part of diabetes care and is covered by Medicare and most health insurance plans when provided by a diabetes educator within an accredited and recognized program. To find an accredited program or a certified diabetes educator near you, check out AADE's diabetes educator database.
Joan Bardsley, MBA, BSN, RN, CDE, is 2014 president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), and assistant vice-president of core scientific services for the (MHRI). A registered nurse and certified diabetes educator, Bardsley has done diabetes management research; develops and implements training activities for MHRI's clinical research coordinators throughout the MedStar Health system; and serves as a representative to MedStar’s Chief Nursing Council and Nursing Research Consortium.
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