HMH diabetes program continues to be recognized

Hardin Memorial Health’s diabetes management program has once again been honored as an American Diabetes Association Recognized Diabetes Self-Management Education Program.

The program originally was recognized in 2007 and has successfully renewed the recognition in 2010, 2014 and, most recently, 2018. Coordinator Vanessa Paddy, APRN, said ADA provides a set of standards that must be met to gain and maintain recognition.

“These standards ensure we are offering a comprehensive program that provides the necessary self-management skills to manage your diabetes and reduce your risk of complications due to this disease,” she said.

These standards require, for example, a specific class curriculum; communication with referring providers; patient established goals and on-going support plan; and an annual advisory board meeting with key members of the community to evaluate and re-design services as needed. There are a total of 10 standards that must be met, Paddy said.

“We have to review and ensure we are continually meeting the required ADA standards,” she said. “We submit documentation of our annual numbers of attendees, our quality data, and other documents that show how we are meeting the standards.”

Paddy said currently there are 27 ADA-recognized programs in Kentucky. The Hardin Memorial Health Diabetes Management Program is the only ADA-recognized program in this region. The nearest otherwise is Campbellsville and Louisville, she said.

“Having recognition status demonstrates our commitment to quality diabetes services and allows health care providers and patients in our community to feel confident in the care we provide,” Paddy said.

“Being held to the ADA standards ensures we continually move towards improvement and expansion of services,” she added.

In the last three years, Paddy said they have applied for and been granted ADA “expansion site” recognition, allowing them to take their program to communities outside of Elizabethtown. They currently provide services in the Bardstown, Radcliff and Clarkson areas, in addition to the HMH location, Paddy said.

She said they see more than 400 new patients each year and that does not include those seen in the clinic by a nurse practitioner. Paddy said patients first must be diagnosed with diabetes – type 1 or 2 – or gestational diabetes to be seen for diabetes self-management education training. They also can provide nutrition counseling for patients with pre-diabetes.

Patients referred for diabetes self-management education training initially are seen by a registered nurse, who is a certified diabetes educator, for a one-to-one session where basic health information is gathered and general diabetes education is provided. Then, patients are enrolled, if ordered by their provider, in a three-part group class series for in-depth comprehensive diabetes education. These classes are taught by the nurse and dietitian.

Paddy said patients also can be referred for Diabetes Medical Nutrition Therapy, where they attend a one-to-one session with the dietitian specifically focusing on nutritional aspects of diabetes.

Paddy said they provide follow-up care for their patients throughout the year to reinforce education and provide assistance as needed.

The program offers a free monthly diabetes support group on the first Thursday of most months and is open to anyone in the community interested in learning more about managing their diabetes, Paddy said.

For more information about the hospital’s program, call 270-706-6944.

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