Washington Health System’s Diabetes Education and Management Program (DEMP) is dedicated to improving the quality of life for our clients and their families. Certified diabetes educators work with persons with diabetes and their doctors to develop customized diabetes management plans based on individual needs.

The American Diabetes Association recognizes DEMP as having met national standards for diabetes education programs in the United States. All professional staff members are certified diabetes educators.

Diabetes can cause major health problems. However, if you are one of the 21 million Americans with diabetes, you can have a positive influence on your overall health by learning how to care for yourself.

If you are like most people, you have many questions about living a healthy life with diabetes. The Diabetes Education and Management Program (DEMP) can answer those questions for you.

DEMP’s follow-up data shows that, overall, clients having completed the program are better informed and able to control their diabetes by using the information they learned. Good diabetes control delays or prevents diabetes complications.

At WHS, we believe an informed patient is an empowered patient. Check out these classes and counseling sessions designed to help you learn the ins and outs of living a healthy life with a diabetes diagnosis.

This is a group series that provides overall instruction in dealing successfully with diabetes. Coordinated and taught by certified diabetes educators, the series includes basic information on diet, exercise and medications, along with other aspects of diabetes self-management. Physician referral is required.

There is a fee for the participant. There is no fee for the family member/support person attending with the participant. Most insurers cover the cost of this program. Please contact the number on the back of your insurance card to verify coverage for diabetes education/medical nutritional therapy services and ask what your financial responsibility is, if any.

These services provide an individualized meal plan and related nutrition education based on an assessment, which includes but is not limited to height, weight, laboratory parameters, medication regimen and food issues (i.e. allergies/intolerances, shift-work, cultural mores). These services are appropriate for persons with diagnoses of diabetes and glucose abnormalities, chronic kidney disease, obesity, and gastrointestinal disorders. Physician referral is required.

Participants will receive a blood glucose meter appropriate to their needs and insurance coverage. They will be instructed on proper use and recommended blood sugar goals.

Participant will be taught:

  • manipulation of syringe or insulin pen
  • preparation of insulin
  • storage of insulin
  • peak, onset and duration of action
  • injection sites
  • injection technique
  • hypoglycemia signs and symptoms
  • hypoglycemia treatment

Despite insulin therapy, many people experience poor blood sugar control. With regular self-blood glucose monitoring and the help of the diabetes educator, insulin doses can be adjusted so that you can achieve normal blood sugars.

Referrals for insulin pump therapy are accepted from primary care physician or endocrinologist. Clients will be evaluated for their suitability to perform pumping.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs in as high as 9.2 percent of all pregnancies and is usually detected through screening at 24–28 weeks of pregnancy. Dietary intervention is the hallmark of management. Following a 1 ½ hour nutrition counseling session, the blood work is repeated. Further changes can be made at that time if necessary.

The needs assessment is a physician-ordered intervention with the goal of improving glycemic control. Assessment components include:

  • vital signs, such as blood pressure, height and weight
  • current diabetes regimen, including:
    • diet
    • medication
    • exercise
    • monitoring
  • diabetes self management knowledge and skills (monitoring, meal planning, injections)
  • lifestyle
  • culture or religious beliefs
  • diabetes type
  • medical history
  • lab studies
  • annual parameters, flu shot, dilated eye exam
  • mental health and attitude

A review session is appropriate for clients who have attended the formal Life Skills education program or its equivalent. It may be a one-on-one session or a small group session and will last approximately two hours. The Self Management Plan is reviewed, as well as pertinent lab studies. Healthy eating, exercise, medication and monitoring/sick day management will be the primary focus of the session; however, any aspect of the curricula may be included at the instructor’s discretion based on the need of the individual or the group.

A review session is part of follow-up. Each client will receive notice that they are due to participate at the end of the first year following Life Skills Series completion. A client may attend a session yearly.

Continuous glucose monitoring is used to collect several days of continuous glucose data. The sensor, worn under the skin, records blood glucose readings every 5 minutes. This data is used to interpret the effects of food, medicine, and exercise on glucose levels. The data enables the health care provider to alter treatment plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Special appointments may be arranged for those unable to come during regularly scheduled hours. Evening classes are also available.

Most insurance companies provide coverage for physician-referred services. Clients should call their insurance customer benefits department to confirm outpatient diabetes education or medical nutrition therapy benefits.

We have self-pay discounts available. Please call (724) 250-6327 to make arrangements.

If you have questions, or you would like more information about Washington Health System Diabetes Education and Management Program (DEMP), please contact the Outpatient Service Request line by calling (724) 250-6262 or visit us at  95 Leonard Ave. Bldg. 2, Suite 501 in Washington, Pennsylvania.