Do you have a chronic disease management plan?Tuesday, 6 July 2021
Did you know that anyone living with a chronic health condition, including diabetes, is eligible for five referrals to allied health professionals each calendar year, through Medicare?
If your GP hasn’t already organised it for you, ask if you can have a chronic disease management plan set up so you can access this service.
Allied health professionals
Diabetes can affect you in different ways over the years. For this reason it is really helpful to check in with a range of allied health professionals. There are currently 14 allied health professionals, including audiologists, physiotherapists and psychologists listed in the chronic disease management plan.
People with diabetes can benefit from referrals to a podiatrist, dietitian, diabetes educator or exercise physiologist in particular. You don’t have to use all your referrals in one area. You may, for example, like to have one visit to a podiatrist, two visits to a dietitian and two visits to a diabetes educator. The following calendar year, you could check in with a different combination of allied health professionals. Some health professionals will provide a bulk-billing service but others will charge a gap fee. It’s always good to do a bit of research and discuss your options and preferences with your GP.
How allied health professionals can help you manage your diabetes
Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves and blood supply to your feet and lead to infection or foot ulcers. Daily foot care is essential to prevent serious complications. A podiatrist deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of foot conditions and plays an important role in the management of peripheral neuropathy and skin and nail conditions.
Enjoying a wide variety of nutritious foods is important to fuel your body and manage your blood glucose levels. Some foods will increase your blood glucose levels quickly and others much more slowly. A dietitian can review your current eating habits and provide education around food intake and a healthy eating plan.
Diabetes can affect your whole body. It is important to try and keep your blood glucose levels within your target range, to avoid damage to your blood circulation and nerve supply. A diabetes educator provides support and education to motivate people to live well with diabetes and help you prevent future complications.
Physical activity is a great way to manage blood glucose levels on a daily basis. It also helps build muscle, increases aerobic fitness and has a positive impact on your mental health. An exercise physiologist can assess your exercise capacity and design a program, based on your medical history and goals.
An holistic approach to diabetes management
People living with diabetes are encouraged to take a holistic approach to their diabetes management. This might include seeing the dietitian for a healthy eating plan, visiting the podiatrist to have their feet checked or following up with the diabetes educator to discuss their overall management of blood glucose levels. A collaborative approach is a great way to keep up to date with current guidelines, new technology and to reduce your risk of developing diabetes-related complications.
If you would like to develop a diabetes management plan, please make an appointment with your GP to set up a plan and identify which allied health referrals are appropriate for you.
By Hayley Nicholson, Ex Phys CDE