I have decided to take my diabetes care to a new level.
Not that I am dissatisfied with the current care I receive. Far from it. My diabetes doctor, the nurses, dieticians and diabetes educators at the Diabetes Centre are great. They are positive and supportive. They answer my questions to the best of their abilities and they explain things clearly. I never feel rushed and I never feel as though I've been through an emotional roller coaster when I leave there.
That being said, I think it's time to bring it up a notch.
Many of you know that I work with adults who have a developmental disability. Where I work we take a very person-centred approach in terms of how we support people. Because many of the people we support are not able to express themselves in a way that everyone understands, we started creating one-page profiles for people. These profiles provide, at a glance, a good overview of a person: their likes and dislikes, what people like and admire about them, how to support them etc.
These one-page profiles are extremely helpful and we have now started doing them ourselves as employees. As more and more co-workers create them, I can learn, in seconds, what is important to someone I work with and how to support them. Sometimes it's as simple as: "please send information and requests over email - I don't remember things when told verbally" or "I don't work well without deadlines so please tell me exactly when you need something".
Those things are pretty helpful to know and make it easier to work with people who might do things differently than I do.
These one-page profiles have migrated beyond our doors and are making a difference in all sorts of places. Schools are getting students to do them so teachers and classmates can know more about them. One of my co-workers' mothers was in the hospital and was so ill that she was unable to communicate for several weeks. The family created a one-page profile, complete with pictures and a personal history, that they posted in her room. All of the nurses were able to read it and quickly learn that the women in the bed was a retired pharmacist with three grandchildren who, among other things, likes to watch Big Bang Theory. In fact, one of the nurses also loved it and began making a point to turn on the television when that show was on so my friend's mother could watch it.
The hospital has begun trying to get more of its patients to create one-page profiles because of how helpful they are. Adding a few photos help make the patient even more accessible and provides a conversation starter for care-providers.
So I've decided that I want to create a one-page profile for the medical professionals who support me. And I want them to keep it in my file, right at the front. That way, whatever nurse, dietician, diabetes educator or doctor I am meeting with can see who I am as a person. They can learn in an instant that I am a runner and a swimmer, that I love to cook and to travel and that I write a blog. And, more importantly, they can learn how to support me. They can learn that I always want a copy of my blood test results. And that I don't like being interrogated about every low and every high blood sugar. And that I always have questions about managing blood sugar while running or swimming.
Who knows, they may toss it in my file and get on with their day. Or, they may realize that this would be a great way to really learn about the other people who they support and encourage others to do the same thing.
Here is my first draft - what do you think?