Beebe Medical Center Programs Support Statewide Diabetes Control Initiatives
As Lt. Governor John C. Carney, Jr., unveils the Statewide Diabetes Control Plan on November 19, 2002, at the Delaware Diabetes Coalition’s first Diabetes Wellness Expo, Beebe Medical Center highlights its services to care for and educate persons with diabetes. Beebe Medical Center’s Wound Care Services/Diabetes Management Department has provided comprehensive, interdisciplinary services for the community since 1998 and continues to serve the community. Located at the Longneck Health Center, the department offers individual diabetes consultations; diabetes management classes; community foot screenings and support groups; acute and chronic wound care; foot and nail care; footwear assessment; ostomy care, education, follow-up care, and an ostomy support group. The Wound Care Services team works in close collaboration with the individual’s primary care physician. Referrals are required and are made through physicians, nurses, case managers, home health agencies, long-term care facilities, and self-referral.
Diabetes is a devastating disease - for individuals, their families, and the health care system as a whole - and is a serious concern in Delaware. An estimated 16 million Americans have diabetes, potentially 45,000 Delawareans, or more than 1 in 20. Moreover, our state’s death rate from diabetes ranks fourth highest of all states, according to a recent report from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. Early identification and treatment of this disease can reduce the secondary complications. Many cases go undetected and therefore untreated.
“Diabetes is a 24-hour disease that patients need to learn how to manage,” says Christina Trout, R.N., Beebe’s certified diabetes education specialist. “We are optimistic that increased attention given to diabetes will also increase awareness of high blood sugar symptoms and potential risk for further problems. We encourage persons with symptoms of increased thirst, a frequent desire to urinate, and blurred vision to seek medical attention.” Key risk factors to watch for include being overweight and lack of exercise. Diabetes affects more women than men, especially women who have given birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds, and is more prevalent in persons over age 65, persons with high triglycerides and high cholesterol levels, and in African-American and Hispanic ethnic groups.
In addition to risk of vision loss, kidney disease, heart attack, and stroke, persons with diabetes frequently have the complication of non-healing wounds. Too much sugar in the blood can lead to nerve damage, resulting in numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Due to this numbness, known as neuropathy, a person with diabetes may not realize that an injury has occurred. Approximately 54,000 patients have amputations each year as a result of diabetes-related complications. The American Diabetes Association estimates that as many as half of these amputations can be prevented with proper education, testing and footwear. Beebe’s Wound Care Department seeks to educate persons with diabetes to prevent its long-term complications and improve wound healing.
For more information about Beebe’s Wound Care Center and Diabetes Management Department, please call 947-2500.