HMC: Unique Support Program Helping Diabetic Patients Control Blood Sugar Levels and Better Manage Their Health
An innovative approach being pioneered by Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Internal Medicine Clinic is improving health outcomes for patients with type 2 diabetes.
As part of the Shared Medical Appointments (SMA) initiative, type 2 diabetic patients receiving care at HMC’s Internal Medicine Clinic meet once a month for a six month period, known as a cycle, to discuss and learn about diabetic care and how the disease impacts their overall health. The initiative, which is a clinician-led support group, is designed to help patients better manage their blood sugar levels, and in turn their diabetes, by providing accurate information, adequate tools, and the support needed to live well with diabetes.
“We introduced this initiative in 2016 as a unique approach to providing care to patients with type 2 diabetes. We created groups of 10 to12 patients who would meet monthly to discuss themes relevant to their condition, such as diet, exercise, medication management, health tips for safe fasting during Ramadan and anything else we, or they, felt was relevant. Interactive group discussions are facilitated by physicians, diabetes educators, and dietitians, and usually last between one to two hours,” explains Dr. Nasseer Masoodi, Vice Chair, Medicine and lead physician for the program.
To date, the results have been extremely positive. More than 35 patients have completed the program, with a number of patients reporting a noticeable drop in their blood sugar levels and an overall improvement in their general health.
Dr. Aisha Al Kubaisi, Consultant, Medicine at HMC, said support groups can reinforce proper self-care and offer important social support. She noted that individuals are often more able, and willing, to manage chronic conditions when they have consistent contact with peers who can provide practical and emotional support.
“We measure each participant’s blood sugar level at the start of each cycle, three months into the cycle, and when the cycle ends so we are able to compare blood sugar levels at each stage of the cycle for any notable changes. We usually see a significant drop in blood sugar as the cycle progresses, highlighting the positive benefits of the initiative,” said Dr. Al Kubaisi.
According to Ms. Liz Thiebe, Internal Medicine Clinic Nursing Lead, the fundamental principles which inform the program are the questions and concerns of patients. She explained: “The topics and issues, which often include challenges, discussed during the group sessions are introduced by the patients themselves. Together they suggest and select possible solutions.”
Mr. Isaac Namisi Bubolo, who participated in the program, says it helped him build confidence in his ability to manage his diabetes. He said: “The group discussions made me far more confident about self-managing my condition due to the support we were all able to provide to one another through our shared experiences. Taking part in this program really motivated me to take ownership of my health and to do what I can to reduce my blood sugar levels.”
Professor Abdul-Badi Abou-Samra, Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine, says the program is one of the first of its kind in the country and possibly the region. He says the program’s approach is in line with the provision of a patient-centered model of care that aims to empower patients to be active participants in their own care, as outlined in the National Health Strategy.
“This initiative is unique. It brings patients with diabetes together and allows them to focus on concerns and questions relevant to their health and current living situation. Participants discuss problem-based issues, share experiences, and try to identify solutions to pressing diabetes management issues,” said Professor Abou-Samra.
Hamad Medical Corporation
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is the main provider of secondary and tertiary healthcare in Qatar and one of the leading hospital providers in the Middle East.
For more than four decades, HMC has been dedicated to delivering the safest, most effective and compassionate care to all its patients.
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