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Diabetes Week: Preventative Healthcare

This Diabetes Week, ExtraCare Well-being Advisor Kate Gokova, who works at Pannel Croft Retirement Village in Newtown, Birmingham, explains how the Charity’s Well-being Service is supporting residents with diabetes…

One of the most important factors to consider in living with diabetes is lifestyle. At Pannel Croft Village, 70 per cent of the residents are diabetic, and, as Well-being Advisor, I have spent a considerable amount of time educating and promoting health to prevent diabetes, ensuring compliance and adherence to medication, and encouraging lifestyle changes.

I have been trying to change attitudes and empower informed decisions within the independent living environment.

I’ve organised workshops and invited dieticians to talk to residents about the importance of diet. This has helped in ‘demystifying’ diabetes and empowering those affected with the knowledge they need to tackle it.

We are addressing the twin challenges of diabetes: diet and exercise.

More than 20 per cent of Pannel Croft residents with diabetes are members of our Diabetes Awareness group, where we discuss topics such as diet, exercise and reading food labels. We also arrange healthy shopping trips to think about how you can make informed – and less expensive – shopping decisions to live well with diabetes.

The Waist Busters group addresses the issue of weight management. We alternate with one week in the gym exercising and in the following week we conduct discussion and workshop sessions about how to reduce weight.

Our proactive approach at Pannel Croft has reduced hospital admissions – only six due to diabetes in the last year. Residents are not always able to book an urgent appointment with the GP and get it on the same day, so they come and seek advice from me. In 2014, there were 267 ‘drop-in’ sessions relating to diabetes. In 2015, this rose to 396.

The average cost of a primary care appointment is around £30, so we are saving around £11,880 in NHS costs related to diabetes alone in this ExtraCare Village.

The average cost for non-elective hospital admission for a diabetic with Hypoglycaemic Disorder aged 70 years and over is £2,156 (read more) – we’re potentially saving thousands of pounds for the NHS by managing residents well in the Village and avoiding hospital admission!

Contact Pannel Croft Village on 0121 503 1000.

Kate is the Village’s Well-being Advisor. ExtraCare’s award-winning Well-being Service supports all residents to be proactive in managing their own health.