For People With Diabetes

Diabetes Management Principles

A number of key principles guide us in terms of what constitutes "good diabetes care".

Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes are both complex conditions, requiring a specialised programme of care, and the principles mentioned here are important components of any good diabetes management programme.

Patient empowerment / self care

We tell our patients that it is not their doctor or other healthcare professional that has to look after their diabetes on a day to day basis. It is the patient themselves who must manage and cope with their condition daily. Decisions are taken every day by patients with diabetes that can significantly affect their health and well-being.

It is important that patients are equipped to make good choices and decisions; this means that patients must be given the correct information, and they must acquire knowledge, skills and the confidence, to do so.

"Diabetes education" is often ignored by funders of healthcare. In contrast, we consider diabetes education to be one of the most important aspects of successful diabetes care. Significant focus is placed on providing our patients with information and knowledge, and each of our patients consults with our diabetes educators on a regular basis.

Team care / support

Facilitation of self-care by a Management Team of health care professionals with specialised training and knowledge has been shown to be essential in the control of diabetes. They provide diagnosis, counselling, education, treatment and lifestyle options, support and motivation.

This reduces sickness, death, costs and hospitalisation due to diabetes.

In addition to the Doctor, input from a Diabetes Educator, Dietician, Podiatrist, Ophthalmologist, Pharmacist, Biokineticist and Psychologist (amongst others), is necessary at different times to maximise care and quality of life.

Importantly, the doctor is not the head of this team – it is the person with diabetes and their family. Again, Diabetes Associations are a vital part of the team to provide support where most of diabetes care occurs – in the community.

Ongoing monitoring (checking)

Checking or regular monitoring is essential to ensure that diabetes is "Treated to Target". This involves frequent self blood glucose checks by the patient.

In addition, patients need to ensure that they get their HbA1c checked 2-4 times yearly.

Never neglect to also check blood pressure, serum cholesterol, microalbuminuria, body weight (growth in kids), eyes (annual Ophthalmologist examination) and feet (daily self and annual Podiatrist check) as well!

The 3 cornerstones of diabetes care

  • exercise,
  • healthy eating and
  • the right medication at the right dose and at the right time.