World Diabetes Day is marked every year on November 14th which was the birthday of Sir Fredrick Banting. This year also marks a historic milestone – it was 100 years ago in 1921 that Banting and his colleague Dr. Charles Best started their experiments leading to the first successful insulin injection, a lifesaving treatment for Diabetes. This year, the World Diabetes Day theme is “Access to Diabetes Care: If not now, when?”. Throughout the century since the discovery of insulin, there have been many advances in treatments, but unfortunately diabetes care is still often out of reach for many who need it. Some barriers to accessing diabetes such as transportation, literacy, finances, mental health and addictions or not having a primary care provider may have an even greater impact on those living in rural communities including Lanark, Leeds and Grenville.
It is estimated that around 1 in 3 Canadians are living with prediabetes or diabetes, but halfbut half of these are undiagnosed. When diabetes goes untreated or if people do not receive the support and care they need, they can be at risk of serious and life-threatening complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and amputations. In fact, it is estimated that having diabetes reduces a person’s lifespan by about 5 to 15 years. Sadly, through this pandemic we have also seen that people with diabetes are more susceptible to the worst complications of COVID-19, and in some regions, up to half of people diagnosed with COVID-19 have had diabetes.
The Rideau Community Health Services (RCHS) Diabetes Education Program (formerly Rideau Valley Diabetes Services) is a team of dietitians and nurse educators who work together with people with prediabetes or diabetes to provide them with education and support throughout Lanark, Leeds and Grenville. Recognizing the gap in access to diabetes care, the RCHS Diabetes Education Program officially launched their “Home Monitoring Program” at the start of November as a new way of improving access to services. This program is geared towards those newly diagnosed or recently discharged from hospital and makes use of technology to provide education and support while the team remotely monitors client progress. If clients don’t have their own smart phone or device to participate with, they can borrow a tablet and receive support to learn new skills on how to use technology for their health care. From the comfort of their own home, clients have increased access to diabetes education and management with regular check-ins from their diabetes team that may be as often as daily or weekly depending on their needs. If at some point clients need to be seen in person, they are still able to access that as well as all other services the RCHS Diabetes Education Program has to offer. If you are interested in learning more about the Home Monitoring Program or any other services offered by the RCHS Diabetes Education Program, we welcome you to visit our website at www.rideauchs.ca or call 1-877-321-4500.
Diabetes Canada (2021) Diabetes in Canada: Backgrounder. https://www.diabetes.ca/DiabetesCanadaWebsite/media/Advocacy-and-Policy/Backgrounder/2021_Backgrounder_Canada_English_FINAL_MAR.pdf
International Diabetes Federation (2021) World Diabetes Day toolkit: https://worlddiabetesday.org/resources/wdd-2021/toolkit/