For those with diabetes, medical appointments are only one aspect of treatment — medication, education, motivation and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are all critical to managing the disease. With that in mind, AFC has secured a grant that is allowing us to design and implement a diabetes education program entitled “Take Charge.”
Take Charge combines our high-quality medical care with an 8 week diabetes education program, risk factor modification techniques and group support. Patient knowledge and health outcomes are measured over a twelve-month period with the goal of developing the program into a model that can be replicated at other Free Clinic sites.
Take Charge began in May and wrapped up with a formal education component in September. Over the course of the program, the students visited Shop Rite and participated in a nutritionist-led grocery shopping trip, received pedometers and discussed stress management in the form of meditation, guided imagery and Qigong. The first group will continue to meet monthly for ongoing support, and two additional groups will participate in the coming months.
“We teach our patients how to be an active participant in controlling their disease,” said Norwalk Clinic Director Barbara McCabe. “Take Charge helps them make sustainable lifestyle changes that will reduce the risk factors and complications associated with diabetes.”