Diabetes Program at Presbyterian Hospital of Winnsboro Sees Jump in Patient Volume
09/12/2008

WINNSBORO, Texas — A diagnosis of diabetes and the accompanying list of recommended lifestyle changes can be daunting, but the Presbyterian Hospital of Winnsboro Outpatient Education Center for Diabetes and Nutrition is working with patients to make the adjustment easier.

Vickie Craddock was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes this spring, and with guidance from the program, she lost 25 pounds. The personal touch of the educators helped keep her motivated and enabled her to ask questions.

“They didn’t make me feel like it’s a diet; it’s a lifestyle change that you have to make,” Craddock said. “I felt like it was a challenge, but their encouragement and the personalized attention really helped me.”

In the first quarter of 2008, patient visits increased by 40 percent, said Vicki Johns, R.D., L.D., C.D.E. “The goal is to increase patient’s ability to manage their diabetes by themselves by incorporating healthy eating and proper exercise,” she said.

Rene Garcia finished the program about two years ago and said that it completely changed his life.

“I was all upset at the diagnosis,” he said. “They made me see things the right way. It wasn’t hard, but I had to change my eating habits and exercise.”

With the help of the program, Garcia made changes, and his numbers are all within normal range today. He said that he wants to thank everyone at Presbyterian of Winnsboro for their help, especially those that he worked with. “They are the ones that changed my life,” Garcia said.

Having someone to turn to and discuss what changes are necessary and how to realistically achieve them is crucial, Johns said. Three classes are offered each week. About 50 patients are followed each month.

With a physician’s order, patients can receive individual instruction, attendance in a series of education classes offered each month and a follow-up evaluation - all depending on need. In addition, each patient is followed by a team of health care professionals. Family members are encouraged to attend the program for no extra fee.

A free community support group is also offered and meets the fourth Thursday of each month January through October from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the education classroom of the Outpatient Education Center of Diabetes and Nutrition.

The Diabetes Self Management education program has been nationally recognized by the American Diabetes Association since 2000. According to the American Diabetes Association, 23.6 million people in the United States, or 8 percent of the population, have diabetes.

From 2005 to 2007, the prevalence of diabetes rose 13.5 percent. More people are recognizing the signs and being diagnosed as the rate of undiagnosed diabetes has fallen to 24 percent from 30 percent in 2005 and 50 percent a decade ago.

Previously, most of the patients were older and on Medicare, but now educators are seeing more patients that are in their 40s and 50s, Johns said. Also, more than half of the patients are referred by physicians outside of the Winnsboro community.

Educating patients with diabetes and those at risk is crucial to preventing further complications from the disease, which can include heart disease and stroke, blindness, kidney disease, complications from pregnancy, sexual dysfunction and amputations, the American Diabetes Association said.

“Many patients can gain control of their diabetes just by learning more about the disease and making lifestyle changes to improve their health,” Johns said. “The Presbyterian Hospital of Winnsboro Diabetes Self-Management Education Program is designed to offer patients education and instruction components to help take charge of one’s physical and emotional well-being.”

For more information on the program, call 903-342-4111.

About Presbyterian Hospital of Winnsboro
Guided by its mission of improving the health of the people in the communities we serve, Presbyterian Hospital of Winnsboro is a 50-bed facility offering a wide range of services including general surgery, outpatient services, a 24-hour emergency department and a wound care center with hyperbaric unit. The hospital is a member of Texas Health Resources. For more information about the hospital and its services, call 1-800-4-Presby or visit www.texashealth.org/phw.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR’s system of 13 hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System, and a medical research organization. THR is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.