Nov. 14 is National Diabetes Awareness Day, a time to address the seriousness of the disease that affects nearly four million Canadians.
In the Interior Health region the number of people with diabetes has increased by 72 per cent since 2001, to over 53,000 living with the disease.
With no signs of decreasing, Interior Health (IH) created a three-year diabetes strategy back in 2011 to address diabetes prevention and management in a systematic and coordinated way across the health region.
Recently, Heath Busby filled the role of Acute Diabetes Nurse Educator at Kelowna General Hospital. Busby along side two others at Royal Inland in Kamloops will play a key role in supporting patients with high risk and complex diabetes.
“Patients with diabetes tend to heal slower than patients without diabetes,” says Busby. “They often require close monitoring to ensure their insulin and blood sugar levels remain stable enough to allow their bodies to properly heal.”
She explains that her role as an educator involves a lot of detective work as she checks referrals and identifies which needs the most urgent attention.
“Once I receive a referral to see a patient, the problem solving begins. I’ll go through the process, starting at the top and moving down to figure out what’s working for the patient and what’s not working.”
The Acute Diabetes Nurse Educators work with physicians, nurses and members of the health care team, making suggestions and recommendations, to improve care for patients with diabetes.
“Diabetes can be very intimidating because there’s huge variability on how to approach it,” says Busby.
The educator says with the support of her peers she hopes to help patients with diabetes admitted to the hospital, for any reason, heal as quickly as possible and return home as soon as they can.
More information on Interior Health’s diabetes strategy can be found here.