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A new diabetes center that combines medical care and education

by Riley Board
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A new diabetes center has opened in the Central Peninsula in response to community demand. This facility focuses on making diabetes care and management more accessible by combining prescriber care and education in one location.

The center officially opened in October in a building in Soldotna across from Central Peninsula Hospital, which operates the facility. The medical staff consists of Diabetes Care and Education Nurse Crystal Allen and Registered Nurse Anya Bootwell.

Diabetic patients are often managed by seeing an endocrinologist, but there are no endocrinologists in the central peninsula. Instead, patients will work with their primary care provider, but Bootwell said the center now offers something unique: a one-stop shop for diabetes care. and Educational resources.

“We want to make sure that patients – people living with diabetes and their caregivers – have the resources, including both education and prescription, and the ability to collaborate with their primary care provider and endocrinologist. “But I wanted to be able to get care here. I’m at home,” she said.

in 2022 Community needs assessment Diabetes was identified by the hospital as a major need in the community, which led to the opening of the facility. Allen said the prevalence of diabetes in the Central Peninsula is similar to the national prevalence, at about 10% of the population. However, the rate of prediabetes is much higher, about 38%, and most people with diabetes don’t know it.

The center’s model is inspired by large centers elsewhere in the country that combine pharmacists, dietitians, social workers and therapists, as well as prescribers and education. Allen works one-on-one with her patients to discuss diabetes monitoring and lifestyle goals. Alaska has some location-specific risk factors, she said.

“Food insecurity is an occasional concern in Alaska, impacting the healthy food options available to locals,” Allen said. “And sometimes in the built environment, you can’t go out and really recreate and do physical activity every day, which can be difficult in Alaska’s winters, and that It’s something we have to be really diligent about making it a priority.”

The new diabetes center is located across the street from Central Peninsula Hospital.

Bootwell said the diabetes care industry and medicines are constantly evolving, and the center wants patients to have access to cutting-edge medical care. The center also tests all new patients for a phenomenon called diabetes distress, the emotional responses and stress often associated with diabetes. Bootwell said that’s another unique feature of receiving treatment at a diabetes specialty center.

“So let’s assess that and try to respond as best we can in the hopes that we can make a difference by bringing patients here who are overwhelmed and really suffering with diabetes and help them cope a little bit. “I’m getting better,” she said.

The center has an on-site laboratory and can perform A1C and glucose tests. Mr Bootwell said the center was designed to be a welcoming environment as receiving diabetes treatment can often feel intimidating.

“Some of the patients referred here are struggling to manage their diabetes. “We think there’s some concern that this is going to happen. And we want to completely dismantle that,” she said. “We are here to precisely support our patients and look at their goals, and we want to make sure they feel really comfortable and welcomed.”

The center also provides support for caregivers of people with diabetes. Often this is the case for parents of young children with diabetes, and Bootwell said it can be a stressful and isolating experience.

Looking forward to the future of the center, Allen and Bootwell said their goal is to provide excellent care and make the diabetes patient and provider community aware of this resource. They want to host group education classes, participate in health fairs and be a resource for school nurses, something Allen has already begun working on.

The center recommends getting basic diabetes risk assessment testing at the following locations: diabetes.org/diabetes-risk-test.

The center celebrated its grand opening Monday afternoon. For more information about the new center, please visit: cpgh.org.

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