Health Break: Group awards Mount Nittany Health for its diabetes care

June 22, 2014 

In the United States, 25.8 million people have diabetes, a serious group of diseases that affect the body’s ability to produce or respond properly to insulin.

Every day at Mount Nittany Health, staff and physicians take strides to make people healthier by focusing on diabetes prevention, management and education through comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services.

Most recently, Mount Nittany Medical Center received Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval in inpatient diabetes care for Mount Nittany Health Center’s planning, collaboration and dedication. The health center is only the third acute care facility in the state to have achieved this impressive advanced certification, and one of only about 70 facilities in the country.

Diabetes is a co-diagnosis for many inpatients at the medical center. One out of every two patients admitted for congestive heart failure has diabetes; about one in three patients admitted for a myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke has diabetes; and about one in four patients admitted for a cardiac catheterization has diabetes. All told, that means that one out of every five patients admitted to the medical center has diabetes.

But diabetes has long been a top priority at Mount Nittany Health.

In 2006, a core group of nurses with an interest in helping to improve care for patients with diabetes began attending regular educational trainings regarding diabetes care. These nurse mentors now act as a valuable resource for their colleagues and patients.

In addition to the nurse mentor program, medical center pharmacists implemented a progressive glycemic (blood sugar) control program in 2011.

The glycemic control program began as a service for monitoring hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in the intensive care unit and providing treatment recommendations to providers. Since the program’s inception, the consult service has expanded throughout the hospital..

Specifically at the medical center, since 2011, there has been a drop in average blood sugar in the ICU, resulting in decreased ICU re=admissions, decreased complications and deaths, and an overall decrease in length of hospital stays.

Likewise, there is a strong commitment to excellence in outpatient care at the diabetes clinic at Mount Nittany Physician Group. Focusing on individualized care for patients with diabetes and their families, the team approach allows for comprehensive treatment planning that supports patients in all aspects of living with diabetes. The team at the diabetes clinic provides the latest in evidence-based care leading to better outcomes for their patients.

Mount Nittany Health also provides diabetes services that include self-management education with certified diabetes educators, and services for complications related to diabetes through the Diabetes Network, Diabetes Foot Clinic and Center for Wound Care.

For more information, visit mountnittany.org/diabetes.

Dr. Jan Ulbrecht is an endocrinologist with Mount Nittany Physician Group.

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