Categorized | Health

First graduates from Hilo Medical Center’s ‘Diabetes in Control’

On April 6, the first class of participants completed the 10-week course Diabetes in Control at Hilo Medical Center. (Photo courtesy of Hilo Medical Center)

MEDIA RELEASE

April 6 marked graduation day for the first class of students enrolled in Hilo Medical Center’s 10-week community outreach program called Diabetes in Control. Participants had come a long way from the first anxiety-ridden day of class back on Feb. 2.

“When I was told I had cancer, it didn’t bother me, but when I was told I had diabetes, I lost it,” said Patricia Kamau on the first day of class. “So many of my friends died from it and I know what can happen if I don’t take care of myself.”

On graduation day, Kamau’s tune had changed. “

I am not afraid anymore,” she said. “I eat what I like to eat, but I eat it sparingly. I learned that it is possible to live a long life with diabetes. I have more confidence now.”

“After the 10-week course, the majority of the responses have been ‘this program saved my life,’” said HMC’s Diabetes in Control program coordinator, Certified Diabetes Educator Becky Stubbs. “HMC should be proud to offer this program because on our island, only 1 percent of the diabetes population has access to a diabetes education program. It is important to get reliable information from professional organizations.”

Loretta Kaehuaea, the only participant to earn both Perfect Attendance and Honor Roll, said: “When I first started, I was stressed out because my glucose was high between 400-600. The class made me feel like I wasn’t the only one. Becky assured me to be patient and calm. I am trying my best to get my glucose down and I’m going to do it! If I ever need help, I know I can call Becky or any of my classmates.”

The first class to graduate from the Diabetes in Control Program includes: Muzette Delos Santos, Patricia Kamau, Jenny Letts (Honor Roll), Diane Ireland (Perfect Attendance), Setsuyo “Tiney” Yabuta (Honor Roll), Shannon Mathias, Renee Keamo, Loretta Kaehuaea (Honor Roll and Perfect Attendance), Prescilla Sampaia (Perfect Attendance) and Walter Love.

Stubbs has assembled her team of experts for the class to include Hilo Medical Center’s Food and Nutrition Services Manager Naomi Bartholomew, Physical Therapy Department Manager Marti Banks, Certified Wound Care Specialist John Stowell, Case Manager Nora Waters, Infection Control Nurse Tandy Newsome, Registered Pharmacist Diane Saito; and the Hawaii Island Family Health Center’s Nurse Practitioner Megan Lewis.

Last year, Hilo Medical Center formed the Diabetes Taskforce to set up an accredited diabetes program. Stubbs hopes this inaugural class will provide momentum for the future.

“We are laying the groundwork on Diabetes in Control to be able to offer the community an accredited program and establish a referral system with local physicians and insurance companies,” Stubbs said. “Many people continue to fly to Oahu for diabetes education. Offering this service right here in Hilo would save our community time and money.”

The class is 10 a.m.-noon each Wednesday at the hospital. Participants learn how to manage diabetes by improving nutrition, exercise and personal habits.

The class has continuous open enrollment and participants can start at any point in the 10-week course.

For more information, call Becky Stubbs at 933-0743.

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