FREMONT, Neb. Getting diagnosed with a chronic illness is overwhelming. Fremont Health is now helping patients get through it with a one-stop shop approach. In this month's Health Check - Serese Cole shows us how it's helping some diabetes patients.
Cathy Schwaar begins her day by checking her blood sugar. She has type two diabetes. So does Brandi Andera. Both women are 37-years-old - and both know how they developed the disease.
"Eating the wrong things, not exercising," Schwaar admitted.
Now the challenge is managing it.
"It was hard to remember everything at first - what you need to do to keep it under control," explained Andera.
That's where Dr. James Sullivan comes in.
"There's a lot of educational information on diabetes that patients need to understand so they can control their risk factors, " said Dr. Sullivan.
That's why he helped implement the Chronic Care Management Program at Fremont Health. It's for people overwhelmed by and having trouble controlling their diabetes.
It begins with a one-on-one session with experts.
"There was somebody from physical therapy - to talk about the importance of exercising, somebody from pPharmacy to talk about the medication I was going to be on and how I needed to take it," explained Schwaar.
There's also a dietitian, diabetic educator and nurse practitioner.
The information is thorough - and potentially lifesaving.
"One of the main goals is to keep them out of the hospital and to avoid having devastating things happen to them later on down the line as a result of uncontrolled diabetes." said Dr. Sullivan.
The specialists can meet with patients for up to two hours, but the care doesn't stop in the exam room.
There's also weekly calls to check-in - and monthly follow up visits.
The extra education and communication is working.
"I lost about 12 pounds," said Schwaar.
Cathy and Brandi's waistlines and blood sugar levels are down - which means their health is looking up.
Reporter, "Do you think you could have done this on your own?"
"No," Brandi answered.
Right now, the program is just for Diabetes patients. But the plan is to create a Chronic Care Management Program that will also help patients with Congestive Heart Failure, COPD and Emphysema.