11.5% of Eastern counties residents are diabetic, a concern during COVID-19 pandemic

The WDMH Diabetes Education Team includes: Nancy Graham, Deirdre Cooke, Rachelle Charlebois, and Rachel Westenbroek. (Missing: Dr. Clara Lorbi)

Says Winchester District Memorial Hospital

WINCHESTER — The COVID-19 pandemic has created even more urgency with regards to the diabetes epidemic, as adults living with diabetes are at greater risk of developing serious symptoms, and they are almost three times more likely to die in hospital. In the Eastern Counties alone, more than 11.5% of the population has diabetes. At Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH), the Diabetes Education Team is working to help local residents manage this chronic condition — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. A key component of that is patient education.

“This pandemic has presented some new challenges for our team to best serve people living with diabetes in the area. Diabetes doesn’t go away in a pandemic. For some people, the resulting changes in lifestyle has made it more difficult to live with diabetes,” notes Deirdre Cooke, Registered Dietitian and founder of the WDMH program.

In order to meet the needs of patients, the WDMH is embracing technology. Patients are being reached through phone calls or virtual visits through Ontario Telemedicine or Zoom. The team at WDMH has recently completed a survey of past patients, revealing that 82.6% of people who responded were interested in attending virtual classes.

WDMH’s Diabetes Education Program was created in 1998 and is free of charge. The team includes a registered nurse, two registered dieticians, and an administrative clerk. Additionally, an endocrinologist is on-site three times a month. The program provides education to people living with both types 1 and 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, as well as people using insulin pumps or people diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

Physician referrals are not required to participate in the program, regardless of whether the individual is pre-diabetic, newly diagnosed with the disease, or living with it for years. (Call 613-774-2420 ext. 6765 or email diabetes@wdmh.on.ca.)

 

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