ANGELS Offers New Program to Help Manage Diabetes During Pregnancy
By: Brenda Pick, BA, Project Manager
ANGELS has added a new service to assist pregnant women suffering from diabetes – a Web-Based Instruction on Nutrition (WIN). The program, which has online and live interactive telemedicine elements, began last summer with the creation of online modules to assist pregnant women suffering from diabetes to help them manage and maintain their condition during pregnancy.
Patients who are referred to UAMS are given access to an online assessment module which is required ducation before making an appointment. The telemedicine appointment consists of a physician or APN as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). Denise Ragland, Pharm D and CDE, sees patients on Mondays. Andrea Tappe, a registered dietitian and CDE sees patients on Thursdays. During these provider-to-patient meetings they go over progress the patient has made and offer assistance with the management of blood sugar levels via diet and medication regimens.
Controlling A1C levels during pregnancy is a way that mothers can help ensure the health of their baby. Babies born to mothers with elevated blood sugars can suffer complications before and during birth. “Moms can deliver a large baby at birth or the baby could have low blood sugar at birth,” said Andrea Tappe, RD., LD, CDE, “Not to mention the risks to the mother. If mom controls her A1C, her risk for future complications, such as heart disease, retinopathy and neuropathy also goes down dramatically.”
“I love helping people and seeing progress. I love seeing the A1C’s come down. Some of these mothers come in and have not ever had a good A1C. During pregnancy, we work ith them and see them every week, and we can get their blood sugars down in a short period of time,” Tappe said.
By incorporating online and live video components, patients can be seen remotely. Currently the program is serving patients in Hempstead and Sevier counties in Southwest Arkansas. Normally, if patients in these areas have blood sugar levels that are not managed during their pregnancy, it often requires frequent trips to Little Rock and occasionally even hospitalization to get the levels under control. With the help of the new program, these patients are seeing their primary are physicians in their local communities and seeing a specialist without having to travel to Little Rock to get the help they need to control their diabetes during pregnancy.
“We want to go everywhere and help these women manage their diabetes during their pregnancy. I recently had a patient who came to us with an HgA1C of 12%. When we checked her A2C three months after her initial education, it had decreased to 5.3%, which is normal. She’s worked really hard doing everything we’ve asked her to do, and she’s managing her condition right from her home town. She’s doing a fabulous job!”
The program was created with the assistance of the ANGELS program; Dr. Nafisa Dajani; Andrea Tappe, RD, LD, CDE; Denise Ragland, Pharm D, CDE; Niki Thompson, RD, LD, CDE; and Brook Keathley, APN.
Arkansas e-Link continues to work toward obtaining funds through the healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) for the e-Link Consortium (for those that qualify per HCF eligibility requirements). If you’d like to discuss what others are doing or have ideas to further leverage the e-Link Network, email us or call 501-603-1280. To find where Arkansas Telehealth sites are located in each county, click here.