Wellness Working to Support Better Diabetes Education

Family physicians will get a look at a new comprehensive program for diabetes education to help their patients at an education session tonight at Wellness Institute in Winnipeg.

The Diabetes Wellness Program, developed with assistance from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Canada, pulls together the latest evidence in effective education and support for self‐management of type 2 diabetes. Many newly diagnosed patients want to do everything they can to control their own condition, and more and more physicians are prescribing exercise and healthy nutrition, along with medication.

“Physicians can provide encouragement and advice, but often patients who have had an unhealthy lifestyle for a long time need more support than we can give them in a 15-minute visit” says family physician and Wellness Institute Medical Director Dr. Kevin Saunders. “It’s a huge benefit for our patients, and for our community, that as physicians we can send our patients to Wellness Institute for the support they need to manage their diabetes better.”

That sentiment is echoed by Krys Polakowski, who participated in a pilot of the new program last year.

“I tell my friends the best thing I ever did was join this program. When I started I was discouraged and very frustrated. At the Wellness, I came to terms with being a diabetic. In order to manage diabetes you need the help of expert staff to exercise, for nutrition, and to understand medications and what they do,” she said.

Dr. Saunders will be part of the education session for physicians tonight along with diabetes specialist and researcher Dr. Vincent Woo. Participating physicians will learn about the latest research in diabetes management and about the support their patients will get from the Diabetes Wellness Program.

For industry partner AstraZeneca, the Diabetes Wellness Program aligns with their belief in a patient‐centric approach to treating diabetes. “Diabetes is a very complex disease that really requires a more holistic approach to working with patients – one that recognizes the importance that exercise, nutrition, medicine and general support can play in enabling patients to effectively manage their diabetes,” says Neil Maresky, Vice President, Scientific Affairs, AstraZeneca Canada. “The Diabetes Wellness Program exemplifies that approach and we’re pleased to contribute to making a positive difference in the lives of Canadians with diabetes.”

The northwest corner of Winnipeg, where Wellness Institute is located, has one of the highest incidences of diabetes in the city. Wellness Institute hopes that providing evidence‐based education and support for lifestyle change will support patients and their physicians to prevent complications of diabetes.

Download the News Release