COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our lives. We’ve been isolated from our friends and loved ones, had to navigate changes to the way we work and even if we work, and been forced to re-think how we protect our health and the health of those around us.
For people living with diabetes, the added stress of a global pandemic has made managing their chronic condition even more challenging.
Diabetes and COVID-19
People with diabetes may be at an increased risk of catching COVID-19 and, if they do catch the virus, are likely to have worse complications, especially if their blood sugars are elevated.
Because of this increased risk, it’s not surprising some people might think keeping medical appointments is not as important as minimising the risk of exposure. Truth is, it’s just as important as ever, maybe even more so.
People with diabetes need regular care to manage their condition. Putting off eye checks or foot care, regular tests or appointments could make it difficult to maintain good health and mean they end up with serious complications requiring hospital treatment. Avoiding hospital stays is always a priority, but especially during a pandemic.
Keeping you safe and healthy during COVID-19
”There have been concerns some patients may not be seeking treatment early enough because of fears of going out in public,” says Christine Campbell, Diabetes Nurse Educator at Bendigo Primary Care Centre.
“We have procedures to keep our patients safe while they’re with us and a range of services to help them manage their diabetes.”
“We’re encouraging everyone to keep up their appointments, and not just with us, but with other businesses like the local optometrists who are also taking all the necessary precautions.”
At Bendigo Primary Care Centre
- All visitors are screened and temperature checked
- We follow social distancing rules, with limited numbers of people allowed in the waiting area
- We offer telephone consultations where suitable. Some appointments like podiatry need to be in person
- With medical and allied health under the one roof we can book all your appointments on the one day - doctor, diabetes educator, podiatrist and dietitian. So you only need to leave home once
- Our allied health specialists wear masks and minimise close contact during visits.
Other things you can do:
Have a flu shot.
They’re free for people with diabetes. Ask us for more details.
Check your blood glucose levels
Do it regularly, more often if you’re unwell or your readings are elevated. The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) has granted automatic six-month access to subsidised strips if you’re registered. Suspending the requirement for a Blood Glucose Test Strip (BGTS) Six Month Approval form.
Get out for a walk and some fresh air as often as you can. We may not be able to get to regular exercise classes or groups but there’s plenty you can do at home. The Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute has some suggestions to keep you active during COVID 19.
Diabetes, mental health and COVID-19
Just having a chronic disease puts you at a greater risk of mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Add in COVID-19, social isolation, worry about the future and your loved ones and the risk increases. If you have diabetes, stress and anxiety can increase blood glucose levels and depression can make it harder to find the motivation to self-manage.
You can take care of your mental wellbeing by:
- Staying connected with family and friends via phone, Skype, Zoom etc
- Keeping active
- Getting enough sleep
- Speaking to your doctor if you’re feeling lonely, stressed, overwhelmed, anxious or depressed.
For more support and information visit www.ndss.com.au
Diabetes support at Bendigo Primary Care Centre
Bendigo Primary Care Centre offers one-on-one consultations for people living with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes in Bendigo. We aim to help people master strategies and self-management skills to address their condition and improve their quality of life.
Services can be arranged as part of a GP Management Plan and Team Care Arrangement initiated by a doctor or by referral. Services can also be accessed privately.
Contact us for more details or call (03) 5441 8622
More diabetes support in Bendigo
Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative www.bdac.com.au
Bendigo Community Health www.bchs.com.au
Bendigo Health bendigohealth.org.au
Image: Bendigo Primary Care Centre Diabetes Nurse Educator, Christine Campbell