Northern Hospital of Surry County recently received a $148,500 grant to help fight diabetes.
The grant, from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem, will fund the expansion of the Diabetic Center of Excellence at Northern Family Medicine. The hospital said it plans to add a diabetes education and self-management program.
The program objective is “to improve the lives of local residents by reaching out to newly diagnosed diabetics and, through an individualized, evidence-based diabetic care plan, teach these patients to manage their diabetes,” the company said. The program also will focus on improving patients’ health and helping them measurably control their disease.
The grant will give program leaders the necessary tools and exposure to grow the diabetes program, with a goal of enrolling 30 new patients a month over a 12-month period of time.
The Diabetic Center of Excellence was created in October 2014 at what was then Northwest Medical Center, now Northern Family Medicine. From the beginning, the program was designed to produce measureable and reportable patient outcomes, individualize care plans for the patients and minimize the amount of medications patients have to take.
“The key component of our program is communicating on a level that crosses socio-economic boundaries. This is why our home-grown approach succeeds in teaching multifaceted aspects of diabetes management to everyone,” said Mike Cartledge, PA-C at Northern Family Medicine and director of the Diabetic Center of Excellence.
“We are passionate about patient education and believe a knowledge-empowered and encouraged patient can accomplish anything,” said Dr. Nelson Gardner of Northern Family Medicine.
Paige Cartledge, RN and program coordinator, launched a pilot round of 30 patients in October 2014. In June 2015, an evaluation showed measurable improvement across all age groups, and a re-evaluation of the program in November 2015 showed continued improvement.
“Education is crucial to patient success,” said Cartledge. “We designed classes that meet the individual needs of our patients. Four of the six classes in the program focus on preparing healthy balanced meals for diabetics. Diabetics come away from the classes with a foundation for meal planning that makes them feel they can ‘eat like normal people’ and not have to starve to death. The program teaches label reading and choosing smart foods for diabetics instead of just telling our patients ‘don’t eat anything white.’
“This program provides a holistic preventative approach to patient care empowering patients to be successful and bringing about behavioral changes which improve quality of life not just for a few months, but the rest of their lives,” said Cartledge.
Not only is diabetes a national issue, the disease hits Surry County harder than most areas. Cartledge said it is estimated more than 10,000 Surry County residents are plagued with uncontrolled diabetes.
“Surry County has a chronic diabetes ranking of 31 percent above the national average. It is the eighth-leading cause of death in this county,” the hospital said. “Uncontrolled diabetes can result in sight loss and loss of limbs. Continually elevated levels of glucose (aka high blood sugar) damages blood vessels and can lead to additional chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, dementia/Alzheimer’s and kidney failure.”
The Diabetic Center of Excellence is committed to enrolling 30 new patients each month. The program is covered by all insurance programs including VA-Choice and Non-VA Care programs, and financial assistance programs are available for under or uninsured patients.
The center is located at 280 North Pointe Blvd. in Mount Airy at the Northern Wellness Center. Northern Wellness Center houses Northern Family Medicine. Anyone interested in participating in the Diabetic Education and Self-Management Program should call Cartledge at 336-786-4133 extension 1028. More information may also be found online at www.northernhospital.com/diabetes.