Holistic diabetes care at GV Health
Published at: 17 Jul 2020
THIS WEEK MARKS NATIONAL DIABETES WEEK FROM JULY 12 TO 18. THE THEME FOR THIS YEAR IS HEADS UP ON DIABETES, FOCUSING ON THE REAL IMPACT DIABETES CAN HAVE ON A PERSON’S MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLBEING.
GV Health Credentialled Diabetes Educator Judith Wilkinson has incredible knowledge regarding diabetes care.
Having been at the health service for the past 25 years, Ms Wilkinson has worked with people living with diabetes across several different services.
“My background is that I’m a qualified nurse,” she said.
“And I did extra qualifications to become a Credentialled Diabetes Educator.
“I initially worked with kids with type 1 diabetes and in the last few years I’ve moved into working with adults with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.”
Ms Wilkinson described what services the GV Diabetes Centre, located at GV Health’s Graham St campus, provided.
“We provide services to people aged 0 to 99 years and over with diabetes,” she said.
“We work with kids, the majority of which have type 1 diabetes, and we work with adults with type 1 as well as complex type 2 cases.
“We also manage diabetes in pregnancy when people are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.”
Ms Wilkinson said the centre was run by a team of health professionals including an endocrinologist, five or six paediatricians, nurse practitioners, credentialled diabetes educators, Allied Health assistants, dieticians and social workers.
“We see inpatients, we get referrals to see patients on the wards and we see outpatients; recently we have been using telehealth to consult with outpatients when we can do so.
“We also regularly get called to the Emergency Department to see patients there and we provide a 24-hour emergency service.”
Ms Wilkinson said the centre also conducted school visits to educate staff around caring for those with diabetes.
Heads up this diabetes week
GV Health Credentialled Diabetes Educator Judith Wilkinson explained the relevance of this year’s National Diabetes Week theme – Heads Up on Diabetes.
“When people have a chronic condition, it can impact on their mental health,” she said.
According to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, the focus of National Diabetes Week 2020 is on the mental and emotional health issues faced by people with diabetes.
The Heads Up on Diabetes campaign aims to raise awareness of this burden and the support available.
Ms Wilkinson said it was common for people living with diabetes to suffer from depression or sometimes what was referred to as “diabetes burnout”.
“This is when people get to a point when they become so overwhelmed,” she said.
According to Mr Hunt, people with the condition made up to 180 diabetes-related health decisions every day, ranging from managing daily blood sugar levels, food intake and exercise to the management of serious diabetes complications.
Ms Wilkinson said this could become too much for people living with diabetes at times, as the condition was relentless.
“There is never a break from living with diabetes,” she said.
Almost 500,000 people with diabetes will experience issues with their mental or emotional health this year, according to Mr Hunt.
In 2017-18, about 1.2 million Australians were living with diabetes.
In 2017, diabetes contributed to 17,000 Australian deaths with more than half of these, 55 per cent, due to preventable type 2 diabetes. National Diabetes Week 2020 is from July 12 to 18. For more information about the Heads Up on Diabetes campaign, visit www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/national-diabetesweek
Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Federal Government’s digital mental health gateway Head to Health.
Online group offers support
People living with diabetes in the Goulburn Valley can access a free resource with up-to-date information.
The GV Health Diabetes Centre Facebook page was established to support those in the community living with diabetes.
GV Health Diabetes and Dietetics Departments Allied Health Assistant Alison Thewma said the page was developed to allow patients, care givers and the wider community access to diabetes information and resources.
“We have a weekly rotation of topics, focusing on upcoming events and news, wellbeing and even meal ideas,” Ms Thewma said.
“It is constantly monitored by a few of us in the diabetes team at GV Health so the community can ask questions and they know it will be answered by one of our experienced team members.”
Ms Thewma said the platform was also a great tool to encourage community discussion.
“There is always capacity for someone to recommend a topic they would like to learn more about,” she said.
Find the group by searching GV Health Diabetes Centre on Facebook.