Diabetes Management and Team Approach

Diabetes Management and Team Approach

Diabetes management and team approach, when combined, go a long way in providing the best possible care for the patients. So when I read the latest news on the early team approach being the best medicine, I dove right into it. I am not a stranger to this concept as I have always used this in my practice.

Integrating a team of specialists including a diabetes educator, a dietitian, cardiologist, nephrologist and endocrinologist is the way to go to lower the risk of complications. It can also lower the cost for the health care system. So does an online survey of physicians found out.

About 44% of the physicians reported that 50% of their patients developed one of the complications including nerve pain, cardiovascular disease, stroke, limb amputation, blindness and kidney disease. They said that most patients are not aware of these complications, especially the kidney disease.

What is not realized is that most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes already have some form of impairment in the kidney. In order for the patients to know of this complication is to require yearly testing for those at the earliest stage of type 2 diabetes including a microalbumin urine test.

Those on the latter stage of type 2 diabetes should have blood testing of the kidney function. Knowing the impairment can lead to interventions to prevent further damage to the kidney and other serious type 2 complications like heart disease.

The physicians revealed in the survey that patients do not adhere to lifestyle modifications as well as following the prescription. In this case, the intervention of nutritionist or dietitians can help patients get back on track. About 63% of the participants agreed the members of the team can help them.

The physicians surveyed, 93% of them in fact, believe that some are not using the team approach to prevent complications although 71% believe it can be done. Diabetes management and the team approach will reduce the burden on the health care system and the patients.

The goal of diabetes management is to achieve glycemic control through lifestyle modification, insulin or oral therapy. This requires monitoring and careful follow-up and support and so there is a need for a core group of professionals with different roles and functions.

This interdisciplinary team approach is not a new concept in the treatment of chronic illnesses but is relatively new to diabetes. There is a need for the diabetes care providers to view their roles and relationships with their patients and with the professionals in other disciplines.

Recognizing the diabetes treatment as complex led both the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Diabetes Educators to endorse diabetes management and team approach as the ideal model for the delivery of diabetes care.

The diabetes treatment team includes, physicians, dietitians, nurses and behavioral scientists that have training in diabetes management. This team will look after the basic requirements of medication, nutrition, self-management and self-monitoring. This can extend to podiatrists, ophthalmologists, pharmacists, exercise physiologists and even maternal-child care and gerontology specialists depending on specific needs.

This diabetes care team will insure that standards of care are met. The diabetes care should be based on research and focused on the desired outcomes. The team members will support and encourage each other in promoting the care that is centered on the patients and directed to the goal of providing the best care possible. And this can better be accomplished with diabetes management and team approach.

Diabetes experts agree that it is important to control the blood sugar level. This require a better approach to the treatment. The multidisciplinary team approach to diabetes care is essential to meet this goal. This will result to fewer complications so we cannot delay this any longer. We must therefore adopt the diabetes management and team approach.