What we heard about diabetes in July 2018

What we heard about diabetes in July 2018

In the Murray PHN region we know that 33,330 people are affected by diabetes: one of our largest burdens of disease. Diabetes complications are responsible for almost 1200 hospitalisations in our region each year, costing our local health system approximately $10 million.

There is no such thing as ‘mild’ diabetes. Whether diabetes is managed by healthy eating and physical activity alone, or in conjunction with tablets and/or injections, poorly controlled diabetes can end in preventable hospital admissions, which is a priority area for PHNs nationally.

Our Health Voices were asked about diabetes and in most instances were able to select more than one answer, or skip questions. See below for what we heard.

If you have diabetes and don't already have a care plan, or if it hasn't been reviewed in the past few months, speak with your doctor. Care plans provide people with more control over the management of their condition. Your doctor can also let you know how you can access additional services to manage your condition, after the completion of a care plan.

Responses by region and relationship to diabetes

Those who had diabetes told us that they manage it

  • 40% well
  • 29% not well
  • 6% not sure whether they do or don't manage it well

Those with diabetes and those who cared for someone with diabetes, were asked if they had access to the services that are required for supporting diabetes management. They said

  • 45% yes
  • 29% no
  • 7% not sure

The types of services that our Health Voices think that people with diabetes need to access regularly (at least annually) are

  • 91% Doctor
  • 86% Podiatrist
  • 82% Diabetes Educator
  • 68% Dietitian
  • 61% Exercise Physiologist
  • 55% Endocrinologist
  • 36% Psychologist/Social Workers
  • 11% Eye Specialist/Optomotrist
  • 3% Peer support and help groups
  • 2% Dentist, Audiologist, Pharmacist and alternative medicine.

If a service was not available locally, people told us they would access diabetes information or services through

  • 58%  Online self-help resources
  • 54% Skype, face time, or other video consultation
  • 51% Phone counselling
  • 27% Computer chat service
  • 15% Wouldn't access any of the above services via telehealth

What prevents access to services, if anything

In addition to seeing a health professional, what people with diabetes do to manage their diabetes is

  • 67% self-monitor glucose
  • 67% eat well
  • 56% exercise
  • 53% monitor weight
  • 32% self-monitor blood pressure
  • 29% reduce alcohol
  • 24% quit smoking

Health professionals regularly discuss or recommend their clients with diabetes to

  • 91% eat well
  • 91% exercise
  • 87% self-monitor glucose
  • 78% quit smoking
  • 70% reduce alcohol
  • 52% monitor weight
  • 13% self-monitor blood pressure

Health professionals were asked to identify service gaps in their area for people with diabetes

Central Victoria 

  • More exercise program and physiologists, particularly subsidised programs that are affordable for people on the pension
  • Consistent podiatry services
  • Health psychology support
  • Greater client understanding of who can be involved to help them manage their diabetes
  • Population health knowledge
  • More affordable and accessible endocrinology
  • Diabetes educators, that give regular reviews

Goulburn Valley 

  • More endocrinology services
  • A standardised level of care

North East Victoria 

  • More exercise physiologists, ensuring  diabetics get referred to this service
  • More dietitian's who are in demand
  • More mental health support
  • Endocrinologist
  • More allied health professionals that can be accessed in a timely and cost efficient way
  • Cheaper, or bulk billed GP visits
  • Look at extending clinic hours, or opportunities for diabetes educators to cater to everyone and those who are disengaged.

North West Victoria 

  • No exercise physiology available
  • More one on one health promotion services

Online/published health platforms, that people use to keep abreast of diabetes news and information

For health professionals

For people living with diabetes

Note that Murray PHN recommends that people with diabetes seek information and advice from peak bodies and trusted sources* to get the most reliable, researched and up-to-date information

How else to support people living with diabetes in the Murray PHN region

Health professionals in the Murray PHN region can use Murray HealthPathways to access evidence based, locally accessible patient referral pathways and resources.

When your healthcare provider uses your My Health Record, it means you don’t need to remember and repeat your medical story, such as your prescriptions or the names of tests you’ve had. By the end of 2018, every Australian will have a My Health Record unless they choose not to have one. Health professionals can access a number of My Health Record resources here.

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