Clinical Health Coaching for Long Term Condition Management: Diabetes – Story 1

Irene is 71 years old and suffers with Diabetes Type 2 and has done for over 10 years. She is currently using Insulin and Metformin to help control her Diabetes. She has numerous other health problems including Hypertension, Asthma, Arthritis and a Hiatus Hernia, which are all managed via various medicines.

Irene lives alone and babysits for her grandchildren 2 days a week, residing at her children’s homes while she is doing this. She doesn’t smoke and tries to exercise when possible, taking the children to the park and attending to her garden. She admits that since her diagnosis she feels that she is “in a fog” about her diabetes and doesn’t know what to do to help herself.

Irene’s daily BM readings vary from between 8 – 16 mmols/L and she checks it 3 times a day. Irene also reports having hypos 2 -3 times a week. She has little confidence in managing her diabetes but also struggles with the confidence to talk to her GP and the diabetes team, about how she is feeling as she doesn’t want to bother them or become irritating.

Since commencing the programme her first goals have been to share information about her Diabetes and to understand the GI index in regards to food and how this can affect her blood glucose levels. Initial goals were set to carry a small rescue bar/ glucose replacement products in her bag to help reduce the number of hypos that she is having weekly. She also experimented with setting alarms on her phone, to remind her to eat lunch, as she frequently would put off eating lunch and then would forget. Through this process Irene hasn’t reported any hypo experiences in 4 months and now eats regularly and uses her rescue plan if she starts to experience any symptoms of a hypo.

Irene has also started a food diary and reading labels and information. She now, with the help of her clinical Health Coach, understands sugar and salt quantities, traffic light systems and simple and complex carbohydrates and the effects these have on her blood sugar. Since understanding these things her BM readings have now reduced and she feels more in control of her Diabetes and what to avoid.

Irene has noticed that her BM readings have reduced and are now between 7- 11 mmols/L, a positive improvement.

Irene has a real interest now in her diabetes and states that she now feels “the fog has cleared”, with the education, support and knowledge she has gained from working with her clinical Health Coach, she feels confident to approach her GP and the Diabetic team with questions about her medication and dosages to help reduce her BM readings further.