Diabetes Care Plan: Your Care Team and You
So you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. Now what? People keep tossing around words that you’re unfamiliar with. You feel a little lost and overwhelmed. What is a Diabetes Care Plan? Who makes it? How does it work? Continue reading to learn all about your Diabetes Care Plan and how you can be involved in its creation and implementation.
What IS a Diabetes Care Plan?
A Diabetes Care Plan is exactly what it sounds like. It is a plan on how you and your team of doctors will care for your diabetes. It takes a lot of team work to carefully manage diabetes. A well-thought out plan makes it easier for everyone involved.
The Diabetes Care Plan will usually include:
Body measurements, lab test results, exams, blood glucose results. It will also include a meal plan, weight loss and exercise goals, and a list of your medications, the doses, and the times you are supposed to take them.
The plan will include what to do when you have a “sick day,” because blood sugar levels are usually higher when you are sick. It will also include instructions on when to call your doctor and resources for you to answer your own questions.
Who Makes Up Your Diabetes Care Team?
Your Primary care doctor.
The primary care doctor will still see you to make sure your health is good. They will usually get reports from your other Diabetes care team members and act as a sort of manager for your overall health.
An endocrinologist is a hormone specialist. They deal with issues involving the endocrine system of the body. This includes the thyroid, pancreas, hypothalamus, adrenal glands, and pituitary gland, to mention a few.
According to endocrine web, the endocrine system helps control the following processes and systems:
- Growth and development
- Homeostasis (the internal balance of body systems)
- Metabolism (body energy levels)
- Response to stimuli (stress and/or injury)
If you have any problems with any of these areas, you should be seeing an endocrinologist. He or She will help you decide on which medications and doses will be best, if you need them at all.
More often than not, diabetes comes along with other endocrine diseases that complicate things, so your endocrinologist will help you with whatever you need.
One of the first things a doctor will do when you receive a diagnosis of diabetes is send you to a dietitian. The Dietitian will help you figure out a good meal plan to help keep your blood sugars regulated.
They will see you every so often (agreed upon by you, the dietitian, and your insurance company) to help keep you motivated, answer any questions about diet, and make any necessary changes.
Certified Diabetes Educator
Sometimes Dietitians are also Certified Diabetes Educators. If not, you’ll see a Registered Nurse who is a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).
Your CDE will teach you about diabetes. He or She will help you understand the disease and how to manage your diet, exercise, and medication. They will also teach you how to use your blood glucose meter.
Most importantly, YOU are an integral part of your diabetes care team.
It is your job to be honest and open with the other members of your care team. You must make your diabetes care plan work for you. It is you who must do the difficult work. You follow the plan. The rest of the team is there to assist you and support you.
How Does a Diabetes Care Plan Work?
It’s up to YOU. As mentioned above, you are the one in control of your day-to-day life, and it is up to you to create a plan with your diabetes care team that you can follow.
You will sit down with each of your diabetes care team members and discuss their aspect of the diabetes care plan. Each one will go over the items you need to know and help you figure out what works best for you.
In the beginning, you will need to refer to your plan multiple times a day. Eventually, it will become second nature and you will know what to do, even in an emergency.
Here is a great Diabetes Care Plan tracking .pdf file!
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For Parents of Children with Diabetes:
If you are a parent, guardian, or caregiver of a child with diabetes, you will be highly involved in the child’s diabetes care plan. You will need to alert the child’s school or daycare and keep them advised of the care plan.
The American Diabetes Association has made it easy to access great information and planning tools for caregivers to use. You should have your child’s doctor fill these out.
Here are two diabetes care plan guides for children to use at daycare/preschool or school.
Childcare Plan for daycare/preschool aged children.
School Plan for school-aged children.
These guides will help you and your child’s caregiver or teacher know exactly what to do in any given situation. They include medications, dosing, and what to do if the child’s blood sugar is low or high. They also include instructions on when to call you (the parent) and when to call the doctor.