Navigating daily life during a global pandemic is challenging; add 24/7 management of a chronic disease and it can be overwhelming. Due to the necessary emergency restrictions currently taking place throughout Canada, it is not easy right now for some people with diabetes to access a diabetes educator for support and health advice. Diabetes Canada initiated a new initiative in response to this current reality.
Beginning on April 27, 2020, Diabetes Canada launched a Diabetes Education Line in collaboration with volunteer Certified Diabetes Educators.
“A diabetes educator provides important self-management support when a person is newly diagnosed, as well as when there are general changes in treatment, health, or life,” says Joanne Lewis, Director, Healthcare Provider Education & Engagement with Diabetes Canada. “We’re proud to facilitate this program and connect individuals with our incredible diabetes educators who are volunteering their time as part of this program.”
The Diabetes Education line launched this week and can be accessed via Diabetes Canada’s toll-free Info and Support line, 1-800 BANTING (226-8464). Within 24 to 48 hours of seeking help, a diabetes educator will respond to provide individualized answers and support. Diabetes educators are registered nurses, dietitians, social workers, and pharmacists. The service is free, confidential, and provided in both English and French.
“It’s important for me to volunteer with the Diabetes Education Line because I believe all Canadians deserve access to quality education and care, regardless of their situation,” says Jeannie Spoar, mastered prepared registered nurse and certified diabetes educator. “My father has lived with complicated diabetes for the last 25 years and there have been many special educators that have left a lasting positive mark on his life. I want to be sure that I can do the same for someone else’s father, mother, or loved one.”
Diabetes Canada has adjusted current operations and programs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Diabetes Education Line is an example of how we’ve responded to the needs of the people we serve in order to ensure continued education and the most up-to-date resources are available,” says Russell Williams, president of Diabetes Canada.
The new Diabetes Education Line is the latest program initiatives such as the Ask the Experts video series featuring diabetes health-care specialists and other specialized experts who are helping address questions and concerns arising from the current pandemic environment.
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