Cooking classes teach patients how to eat healthy to manage their diabetes.

A provider at HealthFinders Collaborative connected a patient with one of our Clinical Health Workers (CHW’s), to help her set up a strong diabetes management plan.  Struggling with ongoing fatigue, headaches, and a language barrier, the patient had trouble reading food labels, remembering to write down her blood glucose levels and attend her appointments, as well as exercise.  Often times, the patient would go a month without medication because she didn’t drive and had to rely on others for transportation.   She also relied on others to purchase food, as she herself was unemployed.  This resulted in a lack of high-quality food as family members weren’t aware of the degree of her illness, or aware of how to read food labels in order to help the patient with her diabetes management plan.   Her daughter expressed,

I didn’t understand how serious my mother’s illness was, there was a time I thought she was depressed and that’s why she would sleep so much. I now understand what she has and how we can help. Thank you for what you’ve done for us.”

When our CHW began to work with the patient, she realized the patient lacked a grasp on what carbohydrates were, portion control, and how these factors had influenced her health and diabetes.  So the two sat down together and wrote a list of the meals the patient had had for the past week, then identifying the different types of carbohydrates she had consumed.  Following this, they worked on a plan to reduce the intake of the two highest carbohydrate items on the list:  Each week, one item would be reduced from the list of what to consume.  Our CHW made sure to emphasize how important it was not to lapse on medications. Insulin administration supplies were brought to the patient’s home as well.

The patient’s family was also included in visits with the CHW, and gained necessary training to support their family member.  They were instructed on how to read food labels in order to identify carbohydrates and sugars.  Allina Clinic Bucks and Growing up Healthy’s $5 bag of vegetables were provided as resources to access healthier foods at little to no cost.  More appointments were arranged to follow-up on the patient’s logging of meals and blood glucose levels.

Through the help and support of our CHW, as well as the support and help of the patient’s family, the patient now has lowered blood sugar levels! She is adhering to her medication schedule, has kept her appointments and her activity level has increased due to lowered fatigue and headaches, which allowed her to exercise more!  The patient reported,

I now have hope that I can live with my diabetes where before I didn’t think I could survive another day!”