Role of Diabetes Educators in Patient Care and Diabetes Self-management
Partnering with physicians to help improve patient health

Diabetes Self-management Education Standards

ADA and AADE’s key education topics

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) have outlined the key education topics and program goals as required by the National Standards for Diabetes Self-management Education and Support. Listed below are the nine components of a diabetes self-management program and summarizes what people with diabetes are taught by diabetes educators.

Diabetes disease and treatment processes3, 4,  5
The person with diabetes is taught:

  • The definition of diabetes
  • Types of diabetes
  •  Options for treating diabetes

Incorporate nutritional management into lifestyle3, 4, 5
The person with diabetes is taught:

  • The effects of food on glucose monitoring; specifically, food types, amounts, and timing
  • Methods for meal planning and preparation
  • Sources of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats
  • How to make healthy food choices, read labels, adjust portion sizes, and count carbohydrates

Incorporate physical activity into lifestyle3, 4, 5
The person with diabetes is taught:

  • The effects of exercise on blood glucose levels; specifically, exercise types and durations
  • How to address barriers to physical activity; specifically, physical, environmental, psychological, and time limitations
  • How to develop an appropriate activity plan that balances food and medication with the level of activity

Using medications safely3, 4, 5
The person with diabetes is taught:

  • The action and effects of diabetes medications on diabetes
  • Types of diabetes medications used to treat people with diabetes
  • Potential side effects
  • Appropriate timing and frequency of medication administration
  • Effect(s) of missed and/or delayed doses
  • Instructed how to prepare medication for injection, giving an injection (if the patient is prescribed injectable medications or insulin)
  • How to store and travel with medications

Monitoring blood glucose, interpreting and using results3, 4, 5
The person with diabetes is taught:

  • Recommended blood glucose targets and personal targets
  • Self-monitoring blood glucose equipment choice(s)
  • Selection, timing, and frequency of testing
  • Target values, interpretation, and how to use the results
  • Regularly check blood pressure, urine ketones, and weight as appropriate

Prevention, detection, and treatment of acute complications3, 4, 5
The person with diabetes is taught:

  • The symptoms of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia
  • How to treat low blood sugar
  • Actions for lowering high blood glucose levels

Prevention, detection, and treatment of chronic complications3, 4, 5
The person with diabetes is taught:

  • The natural course of diabetes, its progression, and need for additional medications in the future
  • Relationship of blood glucose levels to the long-term complications of diabetes
  • Standards of care, therapeutic goals, and preventive care services to decrease risks
  • Smoking cessation
  • How to perform foot inspections, monitor blood pressure, and self-monitoring of blood glucose
  • To maintain personal care records

Develop strategies to address psychosocial issues3, 4, 5

  • The person with diabetes is assessed for the type of support needed; support networks and their benefits
  • Psychosocial issues that may occur with diabetes and their treatments

Develop strategies to promote health/change behavior3, 4, 5
The person with diabetes is taught:

  • The ABC’s of diabetes: A1C, Blood pressure, Cholesterol and suggested goals
  • Appropriate screenings needed to reduce risks
  • How to schedule and personally plan for screenings
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Diabetes Educators: Referral and Reimbursement
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