The importance of a chronic disease management plan

All people with diabetes are eligible for a chronic disease management plan. This plan offers you five referrals to allied health professionals each calendar year, through Medicare. If your GP hasn’t already organised one for you, ask if they can set one 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 preferences with your GP.

How allied health professionals can help you manage your diabetes

Podiatrist

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.

Dietitian

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 Educator

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.

Exercise Physiologist

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 a podiatrist to have your feet checked or following up with the diabetes educator to discuss your 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.

 

By Hayley Nicholson, Ex Phys CDE

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