According to research studies, low-income patients face many added challenges in managing their diabetes. This includes inconsistent access to health care, lack of access to affordable healthy foods, and limited transportation. Recognizing the need to help these low-income patients, the New England QIN-QIO teamed up with Pratt Homes, a subsidized senior housing complex in Nashua, NH, to provide Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) classes to their residents.
Jane Dixon, Service Coordinator for the Pratt Homes, saw the opportunity for Diabetes education when she noticed that many of her residents were struggling to manage their diabetes. She knew DSME classes would help, and reached out to the New England QIN-QIO to help set up weekly classes onsite at Pratt Homes. The New England QIN-QIO worked with Ms. Dixon to set up logistics for the class and give support around recruitment and retaining members.
The Stanford Diabetes Self-Management Program is a six-week course consisting of 2.5 hours of class education per week. Attendees commit to coming to four out of six classes. The first class held at Pratt Homes had 12 attendees, and overall, ten residents completed the program. Ms. Dixon encouraged the residents to go each week by checking in with them prior to class. Her personal relationship with the residents worked well to recruit and maintain attendance.
The class provided members with tools for dealing with daily challenges, including budget-friendly menu planning, preventing complications, stress management, and ways to work with their health care team. It also provided resources and skills with monitoring blood glucose, physical activities, and developing weekly action plans. “I am still using the action plan and meal planning. I developed a meal planning chart as an action plan and am still using it,” said one class member. “I continue to lose weight.”
One of the highlighted benefits of the class was the peer-to-peer support. “The workshop helped to build and reinforce relationships among residents who found others with a similar challenge,” said Ms. Dixon. Strong bonds were created between members; a reunion has already been planned for class members and the teacher! Through coordination with the New England QIN-QIO, Pratt Homes will continue to offer DSME classes residents in support of better Diabetes self-management.