Meet some of the LiveWell team!

Maureen Doran, Diabetes Nurse Educator and Phyllis Duxbury, Registered Dietitian with the Halton Diabetes Program are thrilled to partner with Joseph Brant Hospital and the YMCA to bring the Burlington community the LiveWell with Diabetes program - a new exercise and education program for people with diabetes and for people at risk for developing the chronic disease.

Maureen and Phyllis share more about the program, the services they provide and the benefits of this community partnership:

How is the LiveWell with Diabetes program different from the other programs out there for people living with diabetes? What makes it so great?

Maureen - Halton Healthcare Services and the Halton Diabetes Program has always been in a collaborative relationship with Joseph Brant and we realized a number of years ago the success of mobile teams - dialysis outreach, services with family physicians and pharmacies so we always knew there were benefits to collaborating with our community. When we were approached by the YMCA about this program I think it was just a natural fit for us.

Phyllis - What's really different is the fitness side of it. At the YMCA we're in a location where exercise can actually take place, where the facilities and the expertise on exercise is available.

M - We focus on diabetes self-management which empowers people and teaches people how to manage their own health and exercise. The program really puts that education in a happy, relaxed environment where you feel the enthusiasm for exercise.

P - Managing diabetes involves dietary management, medication management and exercise. The idea of involving exercise is so important. I've never worked anywhere before where we had an actual exercise expert or kinesiologists as part of the program so that is an exciting aspect of the program.

Can you walk us through some of the services you will provide in this program?

M - It's important for people to understand what diabetes is so we break that down and make that simple to understand. People will also learn how diet, medication stress, as well as exercise can change our blood sugars. We also help with goal setting and teach people how to set personal goals that are right for them.

P - It's education based and there's also a counseling aspect to help people identify what their own personal problems. We support goals that are right for them. We often meet people who are highly motivated and enthusiastic but their goals are unrealistic. They may bite off so much at one time that their goals are unsustainable. Some of the coaching is really aimed at helping people choose short term goals so they accomplish more and so they can stick with the program.

M - We provide the education at these sessions and then people can either self-refer to the Halton Diabetes Program or go back to their family physician and have continual follow up with nurse and/or dietitian.

P - If people want to join the Halton Diabetes Program they are encouraged to come back when they need the psychological support to keep on going or when they encounter problems they are stuck on rather than suffer in silence. They can come back and get some support in order to move ahead again.

We have a term called "diabetes burnout" simply because it is a chronic condition. Even if people do all the right things they will still have diabetes. It can take its toll in a psychological way. To that end we also have a social worker in our program.

On the nutrition and dietary side, I think the emphasis for LiveWell Program is to keep in mind that there is so much information available to the general public on the internet and media. There can be out of date information about diabetes a lot of misconceptions. This program dispels these myths and corrects people's perceptions about the foods that are allowed for diabetes as well as focusing on portion management.

There is a unified partnership with multiple community organizations with this program. Tell us more about the benefits of this partnership.

M - The YMCA has been around for a very long time. I actually overheard two people today talking about gyms to join and one person mentioned a fitness club within Burlington and then the other person turned around and said, "but I like the YMCA."

It's not just about exercise at the Y; it's about a real family and community atmosphere. When you're helping a person who has diabetes, you build a relationship and trust over time. So what a great place for the program - a place that's already been established with those same values. 

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