Treating Patients with Diabetes Using a Comprehensive Patient Care Plan

The American Diabetes Association guidelines have self-care and lifestyle recommendations for patients and health care professionals.

Pharmacy Times spoke with Susan Cornell, PharmD, Associate Director, OEE at Midwestern University College of Pharmacy, about her session at McKesson ideaShare 2022, titled "Diabetes Updates, Guidelines, and Trends."

Cornell: Absolutely, yeah, the ADA guidelines. So the American Diabetes Association guidelines have the self-care, as well as lifestyle recommendations. And, you know, lifestyle is what we just talked about where pharmacists can have a conversation with the patient, you know, “how's your nutrition these days? Are you getting enough fiber activity, how's your activity level or even sleep? How many hours of sleep do you get a night?” So that's the lifestyle part, which is included, but separate from that is what we call the self-care. And self-care management of diabetes is very important, because as we know, we're not with our patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they have to know how to manage their diabetes on their own. However, we're their cheerleader, we're their kind of tour guide, I'd like to say. So when they come in, we can remind them of self-care. When I say that, I mean, have they had their eye exam? They should have a dilated eye exam with an ophthalmologist and or a retinal specialist because people with diabetes, of course, have good risk of retinal issues. And so that's where a regular ophthalmologist may or may not catch that you need a retinal baseline. So I'm very supportive of ophthalmology care and retinal care for people with diabetes. Footcare, have they gone to their podiatrist? Have they had their feet looked at? Have they had a monofilament test? Dentist- have they been to their dentist at least twice a year? So these are things that pharmacists can follow up on? Making sure that people with diabetes are meeting their team, and making sure they're being followed up with the team? And then as a pharmacist, you know, our job? Are their immunizations up to date? Let's take a look at their vaccines. Have they had their flu shot? Are they getting their COVID-19 boosters? What about their Hep B Series Shingrix? I know, I'm listing a brand name there, but you know, our shingles vaccine are up to date. And I think as a pharmacist, that's where we come in, because we can at least take care of that part of the self-care management. You know, again, ADA has a nice list of all the self-care guidelines and I encourage pharmacists to make sure they're familiar. And even if you don't get to all of them, a patient comes in one month you ask them about their eyes the next month, you ask them about their feet the next month after that you ask them you know again about their dental care or oral care. So again, every opportunity, every interaction, 30 seconds, can actually have a meaningful conversation.