May 29, 2020
As the social distancing measures drag on into summer, LAMP continues to provide essential services only. As of this writing, clients can only come into LAMP if they need to pick up supplies or have an urgent appointment with the doctor, nurse practitioner, or chiropodist. Clients may be concerned about how this may impact their appointments with the diabetes team. We are excited to continue to provide care using virtual appointments!
Virtual care is when we connect with clients even when they can’t come into our office. WTDEP is using either telephone or a secure video platform called OTN (Ontario Telemedicine Network), funded by the government of Ontario. We are happy to use whichever of those two methods you prefer. While OTN allows us to see each other’s faces while talking, it may be better suited for clients who have an internet connection and are comfortable with technology.
Virtual care can be very convenient even when there is no pandemic. Clients don’t have to commute to the office, don’t have to pay for parking, and don’t have to take as much time off from work to attend the appointment. However, it is new for us and maybe for some clients as well. Here are some tips to get the most out of your virtual appointment with your diabetes care team.
• Have a quiet, private place to speak. Make sure your phone, tablet or computer (whatever you decide) is working and that the battery is charged.
• If you take your blood sugar at home, have the numbers available. That’s the same as if you were coming into the office.
• It can be harder to understand what we are saying over the phone. Please ask us to repeat or speak more slowly if you need. One trick to make sure you understand is to repeat, in your own words, what we were talking about so that the nurse or dietitian can clarify if needed.
• Don’t worry if you haven’t been able to go to the lab to get your blood test done. We’d rather you stay home as much as possible to stay safe! There’s a lot of diabetes management to talk about that we don’t need your most recent bloodwork for. You can have your non-urgent bloodwork done when the pandemic calms down a bit.
• Tell us how we can best help you. Please let us know if you are having trouble getting blood sugar testing supplies, medications, or even food. We love to work with clients to help them get what they need to stay as healthy as possible.
• Acknowledge that things are more difficult now. It’s harder to access healthy food, easier to snack if you’re home all day, and scary to go out and get physical activity. This is on top of other stressors that many people are having: kids at home, job loss, poor sleep. Diabetes management may not be your top priority right now. That’s OK. Diabetes care can be challenging at the best of times. Take time to appreciate all of the good that you are doing for yourself even if it’s less than usual. If you are concerned about your blood sugar values being higher than usual, let us know and together we can come up with a plan to help you.
• Remember, not everything can be done virtually. If you or your nurse or dietitian decide you need to come into the office for something, we will help keep you safe by washing our hands, cleaning our office space, and asking people with a cough, fever, trouble breathing, or any contact with a sick person to stay home. This goes for you as well! If you are sick, please stay home. We will reschedule.
Remember, doctors’ offices are open virtually too! You can call your doctor for any health concern. Doctors can also prescribe medications over the phone and fax a prescription to the pharmacy, so don’t hesitate! Your doctor will let you know if they want you to come into the office for a more thorough check-up.
Virtual care can be a great way to help you manage your diabetes during a pandemic. It is simple and convenient. We’re looking forward to speaking with you. Even when our offices open for regular business, you may continue to choose virtual care.
To learn more about OTN, visit https://otn.ca/patients/