Tag Archives: DSMEs

Reading the Alphabet Soup

It seems like the more I move along this advocacy trail, the more I’m reminded that I still have an awful lot to learn.

The work I do as part of my state’s Advisory Council on Health and Wellness is a prime example. For the record, I live with Type 1 Diabetes. But the majority of People With Diabetes in my state are living with Type 2. So I’ve had to learn a lot about these subjects lately:
Diabetes Prevention Programs – The title pretty much says it all about these programs geared toward the booming population with prediabetes. The point is, where possible, to keep prediabetes from becoming Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Prevention Programs follow the National Diabetes Prevention Program curriculum developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The DPP requires a full year commitment. You’re encouraged to develop a diet, exercise, and overall diabetes management routine that becomes a habit over that time.

In a DPP, you’re concentrating your efforts on changing diet and exercise to achieve a 5% to 7% weight loss in the first six months. Yes, you will be weighed at each session. But there’s also a good ingredient of a DPP, in that participants are encouraged to “discuss strategies for self-monitoring of diet and physical activity, building participant self-efficacy and social support to maintain lifestyle changes, and problem-solving to overcome common weight loss, physical activity, and healthy eating challenges”.

The good part about DPPs is that they seem to work: According to an NIDDK study, people with prediabetes who lost 5% to 7% of their body weight had a 58% lower chance of being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

Diabetes Self-Management Education Programs – Again, geared toward Type 2s, DSMEs aim to provide a Person With Diabetes with information that will potentially help them manage their diabetes better than before.

The DSMEs can be ongoing, allowing the Person With Diabetes a chance to make their progress permanent. The program focuses on three fundamental elements: Nutrition, Education, and Emotional Support. These can be delivered at various points in someone’s life with diabetes, including diagnosis, annually, after experiencing complications, and during transitions like aging and moving to a care facility, or changing insurances or health care professionals.

DSMEs are typically run by diabetes educators, and the fact is that there are too few diabetes educators out there. So it’s hard to get new DSMEs started. The good news is that many medical plans will cover some or all of the costs of a DSME.

Diabetes Self-Management Programs – The difference between DSMEs and DSMPs (besides that one word) is that the DSMP is typically six weeks, while a DSME program can be ongoing.

DSMPs can also be taught by non-health professionals, including those living with diabetes. They have to follow a strict set of materials developed by the diabetes team at Stanford University, and be trained to run the program. DSMPs have a pretty good track record of success too.
Now, the part that we haven’t discussed yet is that the cost to implement these programs vary. The cost is usually per participant. When you have limited resources, you want to make sure people have a choice; but you also have to get the most bang for your public service buck, so to speak. So while each of these programs have their own merits, they also have their own costs.

If you’d have asked my opinion before I looked into these programs, I would have told you that there’s no way these programs could do any good. But they do. All the more reason why none of us should make decisions without knowing as many of the facts as possible.

I’m learning a whole new alphabet soup of acronyms this year, but I’m glad I am. People deserve to get the assistance they need in living the best life they can. And if I can, I’d like to help them do that.

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