Beckley VAMC employees lead the charge in helping veterans with diabetes

Health
Dining with Diabetes

Dining with Diabetes

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Two Beckley VA Medical employees have taken the turn in supporting the “Cutting Edge Diabetes Management” program.

Registered Nurse Faith Bragg and Clinical Social Worker Lorri Lambert work the six-week, two-hour class that educates Veterans on the management of diabetes. Topics covered include primary care, mental health, whole health, pharmacy, and education.

“It’s so rewarding,” said Bragg, Veteran Health Education Coordinator. “It’s so amazing to see these changes in such a short time. There’s no denying this changes lives for the better.”

An A1C test measures what percentage of hemoglobin proteins in a person’s blood is coated with sugar. The higher the A1C level the higher the risk for diabetes complications. This can delay needed procedures and surgeries.

“We had one patient who badly needed a hip replacement. He was in obvious pain. Within three weeks – only halfway through the course – he went from a 14.9 to a 7!” said Lambert, the Health Behavior Coordinator for Health Promotion Disease Prevention. “He went from being in a wheelchair to cruising along with a walker, then only a cane, then with no assistance at all!”

Veterans in the course can qualify to for a LibrePro glucose monitoring system sensor. The device allows the Veterans to monitor their readings from their smart device. A Beckley VAMC pharmacist can review the information collected and consult with the Veteran’s provider to make changes to their treatment plan.

Stress can affect blood sugar as well, so the Whole Health Program involves yoga, Tai Chi, and relaxation practices like mindfulness and meditation.

Learning to manage their nutrition is also included, with help from caregivers and partners.

The Veterans meet in-person, while minding COVID-19 safety precautions like masks and social distancing.

For those with questions, contact Lorri Lambert at 304-255-2121, ext. 4179 or Faith Bragg at ext. 4280.

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