Kemptville District Hospital Expands Education and Support Programs to Help Combat the Global Epidemic of Diabetes

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Demonstrating its continued focus on population health issues in its catchment area, the hospital has announced expanded services for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes.

With an emphasis on prevention, Kemptville District Hospital (KDH) has committed staff and resources to help tackle the global epidemic of diabetes: teams at both KDH and its satellite Rideau Valley Health Services (RVHS) in Barrhaven are offering a variety of programs to provide education and support to people living with diabetes and pre-diabetes.

Today, more than 9 million Canadians live with diabetes or pre-diabetes. By 2020 almost 10 percent of Canadians will have diabetes and the disease will cost our healthcare system a staggering $16.9 billion per year.

Approximately 10 percent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes, a non-preventable disease of unknown cause; the remaining 90 percent have Type 2 diabetes, a disease that can often be prevented or delayed through increased physical activity, healthy eating and weight loss. The number of Canadians with type 2 diabetes is increasing dramatically due to a number of factors, including our aging population, rising obesity rates, and increasingly sedentary lifestyles.

As many as 1 million Canadians are living with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes. If left untreated or improperly managed, diabetes can result in a variety of complications including heart disease, kidney disease, eye disease, impotence, and nerve damage.

Prevention and early diagnosis are key to managing this healthcare crisis. Kemptville Hospital and RVHS realize that it starts with education.

Kemptville District Hospital Diabetes Clinic

KDH provides diabetes services in the Kemptville area through a Diabetes Clinic run by a multidisciplinary team, which includes Heather Kamenz, a registered nurse, Julia Hicks, a registered dietitian, the hospital’s pharmacist, Mary Whyte, and chiropodist Melanie Atkinson. The goal of the clinic is to provide individuals with the tools they need to manage and treat their diabetes.

The KDH Diabetes clinic offers several programs for adults diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes. The programs provide in-depth education on diabetes management and treatment, as well as group sessions and/or individual counseling with the nurse and dietitian.

The team recently held an offsite diabetes education session at a local retirement home for people unable to conveniently get to the hospital to take part in a program; the team is now looking into options for taking the program to other area nursing homes. Dietitian Julia Hicks also leads group excursions to a local grocery store, to provide education about how to interpret food labels and make healthier choices for managing diabetes.

Kamenz explains that there are many signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes, including unusual thirst, frequent urination, weight change (gain or loss), extreme fatigue, blurred vision, cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, and tingling or numbness in the hands or feet. People experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider right away. However, as Hicks points out, some people with type 2 diabetes are asymptomatic. This is why it’s important to be tested. The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends screening for diabetes for everyone once they reach age 40 and every three years after that.

Patients can book their own appointments at the free KDH Diabetes clinic, or have their doctors make referrals. To book an appointment, call (613) 258-6133, extension 155; for more information choose extension 212 for Heather Kamenz, or 216 for Julia Hicks.

Rideau Valley Health Services

Located within the Rideau Valley Health Centre in Barrhaven, the Ottawa South Diabetes Education Program and Support Team offers diabetes education to residents of Barrhaven, Manotick, and Ottawa South. The multidisciplinary team includes registered nurse Kelly Rody and registered dietitian Alia Khudhair-Gilmer.

Dedicated to improving the quality of life of clients living with type 2 diabetes and those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the Team offers diabetes and pre-diabetes education in individual and group settings, as well as individual counseling with both Rody and Khudhair-Gilmer. New group programs start every month and are offered during the day and/or evening. Spouses are encouraged to attend sessions, especially if the spouse prepares most of the meals in the family.

Rody and Khudhair-Gilmer provide support to clients recently diagnosed and those diagnosed at some point in the past. Clients are assessed one-on-one and invited to participate in programs. Khudhair-Gilmer notes that the group sessions are really helpful, with clients sharing suggestions for coping with their diabetes, from good walking paths to recipes. “It helps to feel that you’re not alone,” says Khudhair-Gilmer, “especially when you are first diagnosed.”

Both Rody and Khudhair-Gilmer have noticed that clients are being diagnosed at a younger age these days. They have clients in their 30s, where in the past the onset of type 2 diabetes tended to occur in the patient’s 40s or later. Since diabetes is a progressive disease, explains Rody, it is important that it be managed well from the beginning or it can become increasingly difficult to control. The good news is that education makes a difference: “the more education people receive about diabetes,” says Rody, “the more success they have in managing the disease."

Khudhair-Gilmer lists the risk factors for developing diabetes: being 40 or older, having a close relative with Type 2 diabetes, being a member of a high risk population – Aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian or African – having a history of gestational diabetes or pre-diabetes or some evidence of complications (eye, nerve or kidney problems), having heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, and being overweight (especially extra weight around the abdomen).

A physician referral is not necessary to benefit from the free services provided by the Ottawa South Diabetes Education Program and Support Team; to book an appointment or for more information call (613) 258-8714, or email diabetes(at)rvhs(dot)ca. The Rideau Valley Health Centre is located at 1221 Greenbank Road, Ottawa, http://www.rvhc.ca.

For more information about diabetes, visit the Canadian Diabetes Association website, http://www.diabetes.ca. For more information about this press release, contact Jenny Read, jread(at)kdh(dot)on(dot)ca, 613.285.0301. If you would like to make comments or suggestions about hospital services, please contact Kemptville District Hospital Chief Executive Officer Colin Goodfellow at 613.258.6133 extension 132, or by email at cgoodfellow(at)kdh(dot)on(dot)ca.

About Kemptville District Hospital

Kemptville District Hospital (KDH) is a fully accredited healthcare facility committed to building healthy communities. KDH offers a range of services based on advanced expertise, technologies and patient care practices. The emergency department is open around the clock and provides prompt medical attention. The use of new medical applications such as Tele-health and remote diagnostic imaging has made KDH a service leader in Eastern Ontario. Further, the surgical program at KDH provides timely access to high demand specialists, while the staff's dedication to patients has earned KDH a reputation for excellence in caring. Kemptville District Hospital consistently ranks among the top hospitals in Ontario for patient satisfaction.

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Jennifer Read
Kemptville District Hospital
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