Wellness iNPractice Diabetes

Diabetes Self-care Instructions for Your Patients

Patients should be empowered to be active participants in managing their diabetes. There are several components to diabetes management that may be difficult for patients to remember and incorporate into their lives, and there are a number of tools to assist with these challenges. 

Patients may need help with managing blood glucose through regular monitoring, taking medications, and incorporating lifestyle changes. It can be difficult to keep track of when to perform self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) and when to take medications. Patients may also find it difficult to make lifestyle changes, such as getting exercise and forming new eating habits. 

It is critical for patients to understand why it is important to measure blood glucose, why they have been prescribed certain medications, and how lifestyle changes help keep diabetes under better control. This page has links to several tools that may be helpful to patients as they take on self-management of their diabetes.

Overcoming Barriers

It is important to identify obstacles to diabetes self-management that your patients may encounter. Each patient may face a different set of challenges as they try to stay on track. By using the Overcoming Barriers tool, you can identify patient perceptions about the obstacles they think they might encounter and work together to help find individualized options.

Setting Up Schedules

Patients are being asked to alter their daily schedule, sometimes significantly, in order to manage diabetes. Using the Patient Interview Guide, you can ask patients about their current daily schedule to get an idea of what their typical day looks like and where self-management activities might fit in.

Using the information from the Patient Interview, you can use the My Daily Schedule tool and work together with your patient to determine the best way to incorporate blood glucose monitoring, medication, and exercise into their existing schedule.

The Blood Sugar Diary can help remind patients when to test their blood sugar and help them keep track of their results. There are also areas in the Blood Sugar Diary for noting meals, fasting periods, and physical activity, which may help with interpreting blood glucose results.

For patients taking insulin, they can keep an organized list of their insulin types, doses, schedule, and titration instructions with My Insulin. This tool also has a quick reference for symptoms and treatment of hypoglycemia as well as common questions associated with insulin therapy.

Understanding the Symptoms of Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia

It’s an important goal that patients with diabetes be able to manage both high and low blood sugar. The downloadable educational tool Symptoms of Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia will help your patients recognize the different symptoms associated with hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia as well as how to respond to each appropriately. Encourage patients to hang this guide in a common area (like the kitchen refrigerator or bathroom medicine cabinet) where it can serve as a friendly reminder.

Sticking with Lifestyle Changes

Changes to lifestyle can be especially hard for patients to make and maintain. There are several resources available for you to share with your patients that will encourage them to stick with these changes and reinforce the positive benefits of doing so. 

You can share multiple tools for forming healthy eating habits with your patients. Nutrition Know-how informs patients about the recommended eating patterns for patients with diabetes. The Diabetes Cookbook shows patients how to read the nutrition facts on a food package and provides a variety of healthy and tasty recipes for your patients to try. Meal Building tools can help patients learn about what kinds of foods, and in what portions, make up a healthy meal.

You can provide patients with easy ways to incorporate exercise into their daily routine with the Be Active with Diabetes brochure.

Putting it all together, the Stick to a Healthy Plan tool offers patients a weekly log to track their food intake and exercise.

Tracking Progress

Patient engagement may be increased through the use of personal health trackers, including the Head to Toe Health Tracker. The Be Prepared for Your Medical Appointment checklist can help patients make note of things that happen between visits, including appointments with other providers, test results, hypoglycemia events, or any questions that might pop up. 

You can download, print, and fill out the Self-care Instructions as a summary of all the components of self-management on a single instruction sheet for patients.