The second Wednesday of every month, there are gatherings in multiple locations around Rutland County where people can discuss and seek support for diabetes. Michele Redmond, a Community Health Diabetes Prevention and Management Specialist, expressed her happiness and pride in being a part of this new collaborative program offering diabetes support.
The monthly program is organized by Community Health and Rutland Regional Medical Center’s Diabetes & Endocrinology Center in three different locations at three different times. This allows attendees to choose the location and time that best fits their schedule. Regularly attending support groups or classes can help those diagnosed with diabetes stay accountable and on track with their health goals.
The support groups welcome individuals from all age groups who are impacted by diabetes. Parents of children with diabetes, caregivers of elderly parents, as well as patients themselves, can benefit from the guidance, suggestions, and helpful ideas shared in these support groups. They can act as a bridge between education visits for patients, family members, parents, and caregivers.
The support group facilitators will keep track of the topics addressed and needs expressed during each meeting. This feedback will be used to develop possible topics for future lectures, presentations, and speakers at the support group meetings.
Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (CDCES) lead the support group meetings. Donna Hunt, RD, CDCES, and Maria Bilinski, RN, CCM, CDCES lead sessions at the Diabetes & Endocrinology Center at RRMC. Robin Myers, DNP, FNP-C, CDCES leads sessions at the Community Health Brandon office, and Michele Redmond and Claudia Courcelle facilitate sessions at Community Health Castleton. Diabetes Community Care Coordinators work alongside providers and clinical teams at various Community Health locations to ensure diabetes patients have access to necessary resources and programs, including support groups.
In Rutland County, 13% of the population has a diagnosis of diabetes, while 8.8% of the population in Vermont is diagnosed with diabetes and an additional 33.6% have a diagnosis of prediabetes. The Community Health Diabetes Education Program is also focused on prediabetes this year, identifying patients who are at risk of developing diabetes. Patients at risk of transitioning from prediabetes to Type 2 diabetes are invited to attend prediabetes education classes. These classes aim to educate patients about prediabetes, the findings of the Diabetes Prevention Program, and lifestyle modifications that can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Community Health, Vermont’s largest FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center), offers a network of primary care, pediatric, behavioral health, dental, and pharmacy services. They have offices in Rutland, Brandon, Castleton, West Pawlet, and Shoreham, with Community Dental offices in Rutland and Shoreham, Community Health Pediatrics in Rutland, and Behavioral Health services available at all locations. Community Health Express Care centers, open 7 days a week, can be found at the Rutland and Castleton Community Health Centers. Individuals interested in learning more about the Diabetes Education Program can call their Community Health office or contact their provider through the Patient Portal.