By Abigail Cukier, News Staff
The staff at the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Diabetes Program want adults diagnosed with the disease to know they are not alone.
The program, based out of the hospital’s King Street Campus, provides one-on-one sessions with a dietician and a nurse, as well as group sessions on topics including eating out and managing insulin. The program also has a social worker who is available to talk to clients about stress management, depression, relationship issues.
“Some people need just a little support others come to us more often,” said Shelley Sinclair, a registered nurse and diabetes educator. “We help people set goals. You can’t change your genes, but our higher calorie, higher fat diet and more sedentary lifestyles have a lot to do with developing diabetes. We look at what they can do to improve their lifestyle.”
While participants must be referred by a physician for the one-on-one support, anyone can sign themselves up for the group sessions.
These classes are provided in daytime and evening sessions. The one-time classes are free of charge. They include Living Well with Diabetes, which is ideal for the newly diagnosed, Carbohydrate Counting, Label Reading, Eat Smart for your Heart, Eating Out and Managing Insulin.
Craving Change, which is three classes, costs $10 (including a workbook). It focuses on changing the participant’s relationship with food.
The Stay Well program, which also has a fee, is an exercise program run out of the gym at the King Campus. Participants receive help with setting a routine and using the equipment.
The program also provides many written resources on all aspects of diabetes management and can connect clients with the foot clinic, diagnostic lab and eye clinic, all of which are at the King Campus.
St. Joe’s also offers a prediabetes program for people who have higher than normal blood glucose levels but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Not everyone with prediabetes will develop diabetes, but many will.
The program focuses on lifestyle changes such as diet, portion sizes and exercise or even losing five to 10 per cent of your body weight in an effort to delay or prevent diabetes onset.
Participants can refer themselves to this four-session program which also includes question and answer sessions.
Sinclair said that while the staff provides any necessary support, they encourage self-management.
“People feel better about themselves when they set goals and reach them.”
For information or to register for the program, visit www.stjoes.ca/diabetesprogram or call (905) 573-4819.