About the Author:
Guest Blogger Timika Chambers, MSN, BSN, RN, CDE, has been a Registered Nurse for over 18 years and has a Masters in Nurse Education. She also has over 10 years of Diabetes Self-Management Training experience and is a Certified Diabetes Educator. Her mission is to educate, empower, inspire, and motivate others to make positive health choices. Timika serves individuals with diabetes and prediabetes, as well as healthcare professionals who desire to enhance their knowledge and skills in diabetes management.
How many of your patients with diabetes have an action plan? In my previous post, I briefly reviewed the definition of a diabetes action plan. A diabetes action plan must be appropriate for the learner(s) involved, clear, concise, and readable. Here are eight reasons why people with diabetes should have an action plan.
- To help lessen the stress of having to remember everything. The diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming. Although educators try to limit the amount of information reviewed during an initial visit, let’s face it, many people are still trying to cope with the initial shock of being diagnosed with diabetes. Everything cannot be processed in one visit.
- It can serve as a roadmap to a desired goal. What good is a destination without a plan to reach the destination? An action plan can list specific steps people can take to optimize their health and reach their goals.
- To speak for a patient when he or she cannot. In an emergency situation, it can include a list of current medications, allergies, and contact information for healthcare providers.
- A reminder of who and when to call in case of an emergency situation.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
- A communication tool between healthcare providers. I recommend that people with diabetes have more than one copy of their action plan; all providers involved in caring for the person diagnosed with diabetes must have an up-to-date copy of their patient’s diabetes treatment plan.
- It can also serve as a reminder to the person with diabetes, family members, and significant others that diabetes is more than just sugar. Action plans must be shared with loved ones so they know what is going on and can provide help when needed. A written plan about a person’s health status and goals may encourage family and friends to be more proactive and provide positive support, such as serving healthier food options for special occasions.
- To serve as a reminder to schedule necessary labs, healthcare provider appointments, and flu shot reminders. The action plan can include the last day a test was done, and when the test should be repeated.
- An action plan can serve as a reminder that diabetes management is lifestyle management. When we include a more holistic view of a person’s treatment plan by listing blood glucose targets, goals, medications, nutrition information, recent lab tests, and other information, we set the stage for excellent care.
A diabetes action plan can be one of the missing links in consistent quality care. Here are a few action plans to review, one from Caremark and two from Eli Lilly here and here.
Thank you for reading. I welcome your comments.