What can a diabetes educator do for you?
There are many people on your healthcare team—including yourself—but there's one person who can give you hands-on advice that you can start using immediately. We're talking about a diabetes educator. If you've never met with one, or if it's been a while, here's an overview of everything they can do for you.
A diabetes educator can answer medical questions about diabetes, including helping you learn how to use your blood glucose meter or medication. They'll help you figure out how food and activity affect your blood sugar, as well as how to deal with things like stress or depression.
Expect emotional support from your DE. They understand that life with diabetes can be overwhelming, and part of their job is helping you find ways to stay focused and strong.
They'll help navigate any lifestyle questions you have, whether you're the person with diabetes or a caregiver. If there's an issue you haven't been able to talk to your doctor about, try your DE. We promise, they've probably heard it all.
Most importantly, your DE will work with you to create a useable master plan for managing your diabetes.
Your master plan
Educators are trained to focus on 7 self-care behaviors that add up to a plan for managing diabetes.1 Your DE will tailor each of these elements to your needs, lifestyle and abilities:
- Healthy eating
- Being active
- Monitoring your blood sugar
- Taking medication
- Problem solving
- Healthy coping
- Reducing health risks
Planning a visit
Appointments with a diabetes educator are covered by Medicare and most health insurance plans. Check with yours first to see if you need a referral from your doctor.2 They should also be able to recommend someone, or use the American Association of Diabetes Educators search tool to find a DE near you.
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1AADE. AADE7 self-care behaviors. Available at: https://www.diabeteseducator.org/patient-resources/aade7-self-care-behav.... Accessed October 7, 2016.
2AADE. Ask the reimbursement expert. Available at: https://www.diabeteseducator.org/practice/ask-the-reimbursement-expert/r.... Accessed October 7, 2016.