September 4, 2014

Patient Mentors Are Important

Over the last few weeks, I have been doing more research about what patients with type 2 diabetes can do to improve their care and learn at the same time. Since the Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) are doing battle between the two organizations and haven't enough trained professionals to meet the need of people with type 2 diabetes to say nothing about those with pre-diabetes, this blog drew my interest.

What this medical student says makes a lot of sense. I am aware of some doctors in the more rural states doing peer diabetes mentor training and some peer-to-peer diabetes workers. In correspondence with one doctor, he is being pressured by a CDE member of the ACDE not to train peer diabetes mentors. He asked the CDE if she would be available to work with the 30 plus type 2 diabetes patients he sees. She said she would not and she already had a full caseload of patients.

If members of the Academy of Certified Diabetes Educators are going to work against doctors trying to improve education for people with type 2 diabetes, then we don't need them and their hoity-toity attitudes. Most CDEs do not have type 2 diabetes, do not properly assess those of us with type 2 diabetes, use a one-size-fits-all education, avoid dealing with anyone talking about depression, and in general do not want to deal with the round pegs that don't fit in the square holes they want to put us in.

Heather Alva writes that she was advised to find herself a mentor for medical practice and she says why not take this idea farther. While this medical student is a person with type 1 diabetes, her thoughts do work well for those of us with type 2 diabetes. I will list a few of her points.

#1. Introducing patients to a person who has controlled their blood glucose and managed a healthy and fulfilling life is a far more powerful motivator than fear alone.

#2. As our population ages and more of our patients have an online presence, these online patient networks may become an increasingly valuable resource.

#3. Consider the positive impact of asking if our chronic disease patients are networking with other patients and of knowing good resources to which we can direct them.

#4. Perhaps it is a kinder practice to link our patients to other patients who are successful individuals who lead rich, happy, fulfilling lives, who have been enriched and deepened by life’s challenges, medical or otherwise.

She covers other points and I suggest reading her blog

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