November is Diabetes Awareness Month!

14/11/2018 5:25:25 PM

Closing the health gap in diabetes care
By Katie Fraser

According to Diabetes Canada, 57 per cent of Canadians with diabetes say they do not follow their prescribed therapy because they cannot afford their medications, devices and supplies. Lack of access to financial support and other resources can increase the risk of life-threatening complications.

Enter, a bright “idea”, the Interprofessional Diabetes Education and Advocacy (IDEA) Group.

IDEA was formed as part of a resident advocacy project at the University of Toronto, supervised by Dr. Sheila Laredo, endocrinologist and chief of staff at Women’s College Hospital. In 2017, IDEA created a provincial resource manual to help assist medical professionals and patients, who may have limited financial coverage or are unable to locate the resources needed to manage their diabetes. This group of residents helped bridge a major health gap facing Canadians living with diabetes. Providing essential information, the provincial version of the Diabetes Resource Manual was well received by physicians and patients alike.

In 2018, thanks to the overwhelming response and a partnership with Diabetes Canada, IDEA will be publishing the National Diabetes Resource Manual.

“This partnership opens the door to go beyond a community level. Being able to create this resource with a national scope will go a long way toward ensuring that individuals with diabetes have access to the care they need,” explains Dr. Omar Saeed, project lead, University of Toronto endocrinology & metabolism resident.

Over the past year, 2017-2018 residents worked in conjunction with Diabetes Canada to outline the top five priorities for diabetes patients, including resources in each province/territory for financial assistance programs, diabetes education, vision care, foot care and home/travel assistance.

In order to collect the information needed for this national resource, working groups of residents and allied health professionals were created across Canada to collect data for each province and territory. There was no external funding and it was completed on a volunteer basis by dedicated individuals, passionate about diabetes advocacy.

“Our hope is to positively impact the quality of life of those living with diabetes as well as help healthcare professionals to provide better access for patients,” says Dr. Serena Pisani, project lead, University of Toronto endocrinology & metabolism resident.

The National Diabetes Resource Manual is now available online to the public here: www.diabetescanada.ca.