BLUE HILL, Maine — Blue Hill Memorial Hospital will offer expanded diabetes classes in both one-to-one and group offerings starting in January. Jan Watson, RN CDE recently was hired as BHMH’s full-time diabetes educator.
“BHMH understands the demand for increased diabetes education in this area,” explains vice president of physician practices, Elizabeth Schidzick-Brunelle, in a press release. “We are committed to dedicating the resources necessary to meet this critical need.”
Watson will work closely with the providers at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital Family Medicine practices to identify candidates and encourage those who could benefit from such a program to participate. However, participants do not need to be a patient of a BHMH provider; the program is accepting referrals from any provider for diabetes education. Several community members are already enrolled for the upcoming classes, and she expects more to sign up. “I have received a very positive response, people have been open to making small lifestyle changes that really make a big difference in their overall health,” says Watson. “My goal is to help people with diabetes find ways to be as healthy as possible while still feeling like they are really living and that the best way to live with diabetes is to deal with it.”
BHMH’s dietitian, Martha Cole, MS, RDN, LD, will oversee patients’ dietary needs. “There are no foods you can’t have: it’s how much and how often that counts,” explains Cole. She works with diabetes patients to help them understand that they aren’t on a special diet; they need to eat the way everyone should eat.
The pre-diabetes classes, which are free and open to the public, will begin in February. This program will consist of a series of 16 consecutive weeks followed by 6 monthly “post classes.”
The diabetes classes are by physician referral. The year-long program is comprised of a one day group class, with two group follow-ups at three and six months, and concluding with two additional individual appointments at one month and one year after the session ends. An intake appointment will also be scheduled to take place prior to the group class.
All classes require registration and are scheduled to take place at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital. Topics will include what diabetes is, how it can impact you, and how to manage your life with diabetes. Classes also incorporate both cooking and exercise demonstrations. Pre-diabetes (diabetes prevention) classes are free to the public and the diabetes classes are covered by most insurance plans for physician-referred patients. Please contact Jan Watson directly for more information at 374-3062.