Diabetes clinic will move into hospital

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Along with moving into a new location, the diabetes clinic of Craig is redesigning its program and taking steps to better educate the community. The move into The Memorial Hospital (TMH) is expected for Jan. 1.

Moving to TMH will allow the clinic to better serve community members, according to officials.

According to Dr. Laura Rathe of the Northwest Health Specialists Center in Craig, the clinic will be able to expand services, such as education, and there will be better organization of these services.

"We will have more time and be able to tailor an education program to the people's needs," said Rathe. "The goal is to have a person responsible to be in charge of diabetes education and research in the community."

The new clinic will also allow diabetes team members to be more focused.

According to Rathe, this primary person will run the program and organize group classes because education is a basic tool of diabetes care learning about the disease and how to live with it.

At the current location, educational meetings were held monthly. Upon moving into the new location, the clinic will be able to support more meetings per month. It will also be easier for patients as there will be someone available at more flexible times and telephone messages will be returned promptly.

"We will be more accessible so more people can access our services," Rathe said. "We hope the program will be a resource in many ways."

Another positive aspect of the move will be that Medicare will pay for diabetes education within a hospital setting.

The clinic is located in the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) building. It has been there since a grant proposal in 1991. The program has been an outgrowth of that original proposal.

The clinic will share space with Moffat County Care Clinic at TMH.

According to Rathe, the diabetes program is best done in a team setting.

A team of peers, doctors and diabetes educators makes up a large part of controlling diabetes. The team helps diabetics with proper management. A doctor is always a part of the team, and a nurse, diabetes educator, dietitian and a pharmacist are usually on the team.

Registered nurses Amy Knights and Jane Dickinson are nurse educators, Becky Menge is the registered dietician and Rathe is the physician.

Diabetics have many responsibilities and this move is meant to help in coping with diabetes, possibly the hardest part of the disease. It can be a strain keeping up with daily care, worrying about future health, and it takes hard work to stay in good control. Accepting the disease and telling peers is the first step in coping. Being able to deal with feelings toward diabetes is also necessary for proper treatment.

Diabetics face serious health care problems such as eye problems, including blindness; kidney disease; foot and leg problems (approximately 20,000 diabetics in the United States have a foot or leg amputated each year); and, because of the effects of diabetes, diabetics are more likely than non-diabetics to have heart attacks or strokes, sexual problems, frequent infections and dental problems.

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