The treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is complex and requires numerous lifestyle adaptations, medications, and tests. For these reasons, management of diabetes requires a great deal of patient education and support.
As diabetes outcomes have improved in parallel with the complexity of the treatment paradigm, Nurse Practitioners have become important contributors to the quality of care provided to people with diabetes through the provision of diabetes self-management education (DSME). Nurse Practitioners not only provide these services, but also play an important role in adjusting diabetes medications, ordering diagnostic tests, and referring patients for consultations, potentially improving overall continuity of care and—ultimately—outcomes.
Advances in technology have dramatically increased the ability of patients to play a central role in the management of diabetes, in partnership with their providers. Many procedures formerly performed by healthcare professionals, such as blood glucose monitoring, are now routinely done at home by patients. Further, patients are expected to respond to their blood glucose results and make corresponding adjustments to their dietary intake, physical activity, and insulin doses to improve glycemic control on a day-to-day basis. While the ability of the patient to self-monitor and incrementally adjust their own treatment plan has obvious benefits in terms of immediacy of care and overall costs of disease management, it also means that comprehensive patient education is more critical than ever to help ensure that outcomes are optimized.
Diabetes self-management education begins with creating a basic understanding of why achieving glucose control is important, and the fundamental role that glucose and insulin play in health and disease. With an understanding of typical diabetes treatments and the role of diet and exercise in diabetes management, this basic background can help motivate your patients to take ownership of their diabetes care, and—working with Nurse Practitioners—to help ensure that outcomes are optimized.
In this section, you will find a set of short presentations that cover the basics of diabetes and its treatment, what patients can expect and what is expected of them, and considerations when treating diabetes, including any comorbid conditions. These presentations are available in both English and Spanish and designed for you to share with your patients during a clinic visit. Along with each presentation, you will find a presentation guide that walks you through the content and how it might best be shared with your patients.