“Managing diabetes is like building a house,” says Shelley Jones. “You need to build a good foundation. A lot of this is knowledge, and that’s where education comes in.”
Shelley Jones is an Outreach Diabetes Case Manager with Horizon Health. She meets with patients at the Albert County Health and Wellness Centre once a month.
She can help identify gaps in a person’s knowledge, and help manage the “toolbox of medical care” a patient requires.
“When a patient is referred to me, I provide them with basic diabetes self-management education. I ask what they need. I ask them what questions they may have. I ask them what kind of health care insurance they have, because access can be challenging. I don’t prescribe medication, but I work with the person in their medical team who does,” explains Shelley.
“Type 2 diabetes is about insulin resistance. This is something that’s genetic. You can put it off by diet and exercise, but you can’t control it. The first thing I tell my patients is ‘this is not your fault,’” says Shelley. “There are two buckets: things you can control, and things you can’t. Genetics is the bucket of things you can’t control.”
I tell Shelley I had gestational diabetes while pregnant with my second child. This puts me at a higher risk for developing diabetes in the future.
“If you’ve had gestational diabetes, you already have a level of insulin resistance. But did you know that your child has a statistically higher risk of developing diabetes as a young adult because of it?”
I had no idea.
“This is a good example of how an Outreach Diabetes Case Manager can fill in the gaps in your knowledge. Knowing this now, you can take extra care to model that good foundation for your child in terms of diet, exercise, and how our bodies use food.”
As a mother, this information is an incredible motivator, and I tell Shelley this.
“Exactly. Your job is to build as good a foundation of knowledge as you can. We, as a species, developed as hunter-gatherers, and we’ve spent the last hundreds of years learning how to work sitting still and eat out of a box. That’s not a healthy lifestyle.”
Shelley lists off the many complications that can go along with diabetes. “You can be eating well and still run into trouble. That’s where the pharmacy toolbox comes in—to manage glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels and prevent complications. Diabetes changes as it progresses, and that means a patient’s care needs to change with it. I am a resource to your doctor’s practice. If you notice your diabetes is changing, and if you have questions, just ask your doctor and I can meet with you.” She is also available for people with prediabetes who want help in “building that good foundation as they move forward.”
Shelley Jones, RN BScN CDE, is one of 14 Outreach Diabetes Case Managers in the province. She has been with the program since it began in 2004. In 2014, she won the Diabetes Educator of the Year Award.
Jennifer Shelby asked her kindergartner for help writing this bio. As a result, she is the Queen of Unicorn Land and likes to eat carrots. When she gets a break from reigning this imaginary kingdom, she keeps a fiction blog at jennifershelby.blog