Bridgepoint Health

Managing diabetes through education

Posted on Thursday November 13, 2014


The diabetes education program at the Bridgepoint Family Health Team is helping patients reshape their perception of diabetes.  Tara Koyama, registered dietitian of the diabetes education program, explains that diabetes and diabetes management is changing in today’s health care system because of the resources currently available for treatment and prevention.

“Diabetes can be managed effectively,” says Tara. “It is not something to be afraid of.”

The diabetes education program is run by Tara and Judy Breau, a registered nurse who helps patients manage blood glucose, stress and medication. Both Tara and Judy are certified diabetes educators. Together, they educate patients to be active participants in the management and prevention of type 2 diabetes. Tara and Judy offer counselling and programming to improve outcomes and enable patients to live better. 

“Our approach to patient care is that the patient is the centre of the team,” says Judy. To better serve patients, the diabetes education program takes an interdisciplinary approach to care. Tara and Judy work together with family physicians, social workers, and family members of patients to support their health goals.

For Donovan Bowyer, a patient in the diabetes education program, health education and support from Tara and Judy helped him live better with a healthier diet and other lifestyle management practices.

“If it wasn’t for Tara and Judy, I don’t know where I’d be,” says Donovan. “My health has dramatically improved since I came here. I didn’t know how to live a healthy lifestyle before.”

Tara and Judy explain that diabetes awareness is about prevention through screening tools for early identification, as well as overcoming the perception that diabetes implies a poor quality of life.

To manage and prevent type 2 diabetes, Tara recommends using the plate method to portion meals and support a healthy, balanced diet. Tara explains that filling half your plate with vegetables, one quarter with starch and one quarter with protein can help control blood sugar.

Judy suggests finding a physical activity you enjoy and can do regularly, like walking or Zumba, as well as finding effective ways to cope with stress. If you’re unsure how to self-manage diabetes, look to care providers like Tara and Judy for help.

“There are resources to help you,” says Judy. “That’s what we do, and that’s why we’re here.”