Union Hospital Opens Diabetes Learning Center

June 2004

Diabetes has no cure, but education is vitally important for people who will have to live with the disease for the rest of their lives.  Union Hospital has established two new education programs, including The Diabetes Learning Center to help people with diabetes learn to more effectively manage the disease and better maintain their health.  The new center has received the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Education Recognition Certificate.  The ADA certification means the program offers high-quality diabetes self-management education.

Ann Strauss of the Union Hospital Education Services Department supervises the Diabetes Learning Center.  Susan Morris of the hospital?s Nutrition Services staff is an instructor.  Strauss is a Registered Nurse, Morris a Registered Dietitian.   Both are Certified Diabetic Educators.  

Ann Strauss, RN, a certified diabetic educator, demonstrates
the use of a glucometer, which measures the diabetic
patient's blood sugar level. 

The Diabetes Learning Center welcomes patients of all ages, including children.  Entry into the program is with a doctor?s order.  For more information about the center contact Ann Strauss, RN, at (330) 343-3311, ext. 2394.

William Harding, president and CEO, commended the staff of the hospital?s Nutrition Services and Educational Services Departments for earning the ADA?s recognition.

?This has been a lengthy process that required the hard work of the hospital staff.  Local residents with diabetes will be able to come to Union Hospital?s Diabetes Learning Center and not be forced to leave the area in order to receive this important diabetes education.?  Harding adds that certification means Medicare will cover the cost of the diabetic education services provided for eligible patients.

The other new education service is the hospital?s Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) program.  Patients referred to the MNT program by their doctor will meet with the dietitian in a series of individual classes.  This program is especially beneficial for patients with diabetes who need additional help with their diet and patients with chronic renal failure that have not received dialysis. 

The dietitian in the MNT program will help the patient set realistic and achievable nutrition goals to improve their health and reduce disease complications, the need for prescription drug use, and hospital admissions.

Medical Nutrition Therapy is the first new Medicare Part B benefit in two decades.  Medicare patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes or non-dialysis kidney disease are eligible to seek a referral from their physician for the MNT program.


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