10/28/04 — WATCH joins diabetes initiative

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WATCH joins diabetes initiative

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 28, 2004 2:00 PM

WATCH has been chosen to participate in a state program to help improve the care of patients with diabetes.

Kathy Johnson, family nurse practitioner with WATCH, told the board of directors Wednesday that the state is working with health care professionals to study ways to better manage diabetes.

The N.C. Chronic Disease Management Collaborative began the effort in 2003 with a focus on diabetes. In 2004, its role expanded to include cardiovascular disease.

"Heart disease and diabetes are the top things we see" in the local WATCH program, Ms. Johnson said.

The affiliation began in August, she said. The emphasis for the year will be monitoring lab results and educating patients.

The state asked WATCH to select 100 diabetes patients for the study. Ms. Johnson said that would not be hard since WATCH caters to about 600 affected by the disease.

Participants will be profiled in a database and monitored regularly. They will be studied individually and as a group.

"They will be targeted a lot according to lab results, such as liver and kidney function tests, developing proper goals, and managing diabetes for themselves," she said.

She said the program will mean more organized care for WATCH patients and allows the staff to work together to ensure better care.

A byproduct has been the support from those in the community, Ms. Johnson said.

"We're focusing on education of our patients," she said.

She said representatives from WADEC, Wayne Area Diabetes and Endocrine Center, come once a month, providing classes with a nutritionist and diabetes educator. Regular foot checks and eye exams are also offered.

Mitchell's Eye Care Center recently offered its services to do dilated eye exams. The Goldsboro Lions Club and the state's Division for the Blind will also work with those who need glasses.

"It's taken a long time for us to get some of these resources in place," Ms. Johnson said. "It's such a gift."

But the gift will ultimately not be limited to those chosen to participate in the program, she said.

"There will be spillover," she said. "The mindset is that in the process of working together, all that we learn and can pass on, affects more patients than just the 100."