Your Diabetes Healthcare


Introduction

Diabetes is a chronic condition - this means that there is no cure, and it will remain with you for the rest of your life (see footnote 1). You will need the help of various health care specialists throughout your journey with diabetes. Make the most of the diabetes care that is available to you; learn more about the sort of diabetes care you should expect to receive, and when.

The aim of diabetes care is to enable you to live your life to the maximum, in spite of having diabetes. This means helping you to function on a daily basis, and protecting your long term health at the same time.

Long term health problems that are related to having diabetes can creep up on you. Your best defence against major disablement and an early death is to stay on top of your diabetes, enlisting the help of the health care profession as much as possible.

 

Get Checked!

You will need to have regular check-ups, to ensure that your diabetes and any related problems are being managed optimally. Good diabetes care helps to reduce the risk of developing further long term complications. You should have a battery of laboratory tests, and a physical examination on a regular basis - at least once a year. This forms the basis of the 'Annual Review', and allows for the timely detection and treatment of complications. You should also have a dilated eye examination at least once every two years, as well (see footnote 2). All of the essential parts of the annual review are free to every person with diabetes in New Zealand.

Each member of your health care team should be playing their part (including you!). If you are not receiving the best care possible, your future health is at stake.

Your Healthcare Team

The core of your health care team should ideally include the following people:

YOU!

A DOCTOR with a special interest in diabetes

A NURSE with a special interest in diabetes

A DIETITIAN with a special interest in diabetes

AN EYE SPECIALIST with knowledge of diabetic eye problems

Other allied health providers or specialists may be involved, depending on:

  • the type of diabetes that you have
  • any complications of diabetes that you have
  • any other related health problems that you may have
  • your local health care set-up

 

 AIMS OF THE HEALTHCARE TEAM

The healthcare professionals involved in your diabetes care have two main objectives

  • To direct you in the day-to-day management of your diabetes
  • To detect and treat any long-term complications

Collectively, the healthcare team should provide:

  • A treatment plan and self-care targets
  • Regular checks of your diabetes control and of your general physical condition
  • Treatment for special problems and/or emergencies
  • Continuing education, information and support for you and your family
  • Information on available social and economic support

YOUR ROLE ...

... is to build the advice that you are given into your daily life and to be in control of your diabetes on a day-to-day basis.  For this to be successful you will need to establish good lines of communication with the other members of the team.

 Adapted from material originally published by Diabetes Insight
www.diabetes-insight.info

 

Keep your appointment!

CLINIC VISITS are important - both routine check-ups, and 'Annual Reviews'. They give you an opportunity to address any concerns or fears that you may have regarding your diabetes. They also help to build up the two-way relationships, which are so integral to successful diabetes care.

Clinic visits give you the best chance to optimise your diabetes treatment and keep up to date with new therapies and new technology. They also ensure that any potential problems are picked up early on. Timely treatment of complications is more likely to be successful.

If you are concerned about attending the diabetes clinic, it may help to prepare yourself for the visit by making a list of your questions or concerns. Learn about the checks and tests that will be carried out (see, "Annual Review" and "Laboratory Tests").

Above all, remember that the health care team are there to help you and that you have nothing to lose by attending your clinic appointments, and everything to gain from them.

 

Learn more about the New Zealand health system, structures and processes If you believe that you are not receiving the high standard of care that you should be, then CLICK HERE

 

Footnotes

1. All types of diabetes are lifelong conditions, apart from Gestational Diabetes (GDM), which may develop during pregnancy. This type of diabetes may 'disappear' after the baby is born, but it may recur in future pregnancies, and there is a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later on in life.

2. In most countries, screening for diabetic eye disease is recomended on an annual basis - i.e. once a year. However, New Zealand guidelines state that it is acceptable to screen every two years. At the time of writing, the sources upon which this recommendation has been based are being investigated.