Who’s who in my healthcare team?

Who will help me manage my diabetes?

You will be helped by a team of people trained in diabetes care, including your doctor, an endocrinologist, a diabetes specialist nurse, a diabetes educator, a registered nurse in your doctor’s office, a dietitian, a podiatrist, and an eye specialist who will take a retinal photograph. You may also see various other health professionals such as a hospital consultant, and counselor or psychologist. Ideally, one person will be your contact in between appointments.

I have appointments for diabetes clinics at both my doctor’s office and the hospital. Which should I go to?

When you are first diagnosed, you may have some of your appointments at your doctor’s office and some at the hospital. For example, the hospital might run education sessions for people newly diagnosed with diabetes. Ask the staff what the appointments are for and whether you need to go to both.

What’s the difference between my practice nurse and a diabetes specialist nurse?

In general, registered nurses work in doctors’ offices and health centers and are trained to run various clinics, including those for people with diabetes. Diabetes specialist nurses work only with people with diabetes and are often based in hospitals or diabetes centers, providing education for newly diagnosed people or those with specific difficulties. You may see a registered nurse most often and a diabetes specialist nurse occasionally, depending on your specific needs.

Will I see the same people at each appointment?

Not necessarily, although you will have one person who you can contact if you have difficulties or are confused about how your care is organized. It’s likely that you will see a variety of health professionals who will support you in your day-to-day diabetes care and in the prevention of long-term complications.

What is an annual checkup?

At your annual checkup, your health professional will assess how well your blood glucose level and blood pressure are controlled. They will also carry out a number of checks for the signs of the long-term complications of diabetes. It may be necessary for you to have some of these tests carried out more frequently than once a year.

Why would I need a psychologist to help with my diabetes?

When you have diabetes, you can have strong emotions that can get in the way of you looking after yourself. A psychologist can help you explore your feelings or can help with any specific issues that are causing difficulties with your diabetes care. If you are not sure why you have been asked to see a psychologist – or any other health professional – ask about it before or at the beginning of an appointment.

What happens to my appointments if I am in the hospital?

If you know you have a diabetes clinic appointment at a time when you are going to be in the hospital, you can let the clinic know in advance and change the time of the appointment. If you are in the hospital unexpectedly, a relative or the hospital staff may need to cancel it on your behalf. You can make a new appointment when you are out of the hospital.

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