Horizon Health’s Diabetes Program Continues Success

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  • Written By: Horizon Health

Horizon Health understands the importance of a team approach when it comes to managing diabetes.

Its Diabetes Education Program, comprised of a team of healthcare professionals, continues to prove successful, helping hundreds of people improve their quality of life. In 2017 alone, A1c levels for program participants demonstrated a relative decrease of 25 percent.

“That is an impressive decrease,” said Leighsa Cornwell, RN, BS, CDE, certified diabetes educator at Horizon Health. “Patients who participate in our program benefit from a multidisciplinary approach. A successful program involves prescribing the right medications, providing proper dietary and lifestyle education, and having patients follow their individualized program.”

“When it comes to managing diabetes, it’s true that we can prescribe the same types of medications as other providers,” explained Edward Rico, MD, endocrinologist and medical director for the program. “However, a truly successful program like ours consists of additional components that address and manage all phases of the disease, from diabetes education to wound care.”

Horizon Health’s Diabetes Education Program consists of Cornwell and Kara Wilcoxon, MS, RDN, LDN, registered dietitian nutritionist.

Cornwell teaches pre-diabetic and diabetic patients about their diagnosis, and what it means to them. She offers additional information about treatment options, as well as how to improve blood sugars, diet, exercise, and goal setting. Cornwell also teaches patients how to monitor their blood sugars and prevent complications from out-of-range blood sugar levels.

Wilcoxon provides individualized nutrition counseling for pre-diabetic and diabetic patients. She recommends food and drink choices that are important to managing diabetes.

“People with diabetes need the correct information to properly manage their condition,” Wilcoxon said. “Once they know what to do, it’s very important they follow their individualized plan to avoid potential complications.”

A1c Test

A glycohemoglobin A1c test is used to diagnose and manage a person’s diabetes. The test checks the long-term control of glucose levels, an average blood sugar over a two- to three-month period. A normal hemoglobin A1c level is 4 to 5.6 percent. A level of 5.7 to 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes, while 6.5 percent or higher indicates diabetes.

Patients seen at Horizon Health in 2017 experienced a relative reduction of 25 percent on average in their A1c results (absolute decrease from 9.4-7.1). One patient decreased her A1c level by nearly half, from 14.9 percent to 7.3 percent, in just 3 months.

The Horizon Health Diabetes Education Program has been recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) since 1994. The program teaches diabetes management, which may include lifestyle changes, oral medications, or injections. It also offers monthly diabetic screenings (cholesterol and blood sugar).

In addition to Cornwell, Wilcoxon, and Dr. Rico, diabetes-related services at Horizon Health are provided by:

  • Debbie Giffin, FNP-C, CDE, family nurse practitioner and certified diabetes educator
  • Philip Holloway, DPM, podiatrist and board certified wound specialist
  • Leslie Brown, RN, BSN, WCC, DWE, manager of the Horizon Health Wound Clinic
  • Robert Blumthal, OD, optometrist

For more information about Horizon Health’s Diabetes Education Program, visit MyHorizonHealth.org/Diabetes or call (217) 466-4228.