Using the "conversation map" is just one of the group activities in the Diabetes Classes.
What to expect when visiting the Diabetes Education Department at Windham Hospital
The Diabetes Education Program at Windham Hospital has held a “Certificate of Recognition” from the American Diabetes Association since 1991. Windham Hospital was the first community hospital in the United States to meet the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education to be awarded this Recognition status by the American Diabetes Association. The individuals who provide you with education through this program have special training in diabetes and are Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE).
Once your physician sends us a written referral, we will schedule you for an initial visit. We will send you a letter and some forms to fill out. The Adult Diabetes History Form is long but includes mostly check-off boxes to make it easy for you to complete.
This initial visit will be 1 ½ to 2 hours long.
You will meet with the diabetes nurse and the diabetes dietitian to review paperwork, blood glucose testing and your lab work. The dietitian will also set up a meal plan with you. We will discuss your education plan and your goals. Your plan may include a group class series or individual education sessions. The group series may include Conversation Mapsas part of your education.
Hours of operation:
8 AM - 4:30 PM on most days but hours may vary depending upon the diabetes class schedules.
There are two sessions of the Diabetes Class Series offered each month, alternating morning, afternoon and evening hours. Please call for registration and more information.
Diabetes Updates is our monthly support group that meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 1 PM and 7 PM. Topics vary from month to month. There is no fee for these meetings and no pre-registration is required. For more information, please contact the Diabetes Education Department at 860.456.6727.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What can I eat when I have diabetes?
The American Diabetes Association recommends that everyone with diabetes have an individualized meal plan worked out with a Registered Dietitian. You will be encouraged to eat three meals and one or more snacks a day, to measure your food portions, and not skip meals. Most people will need to decrease their portion sizes but there will be no foods that you can't try to fit into your meal plan.
Do I have to prick my finger to test my blood sugar?
Blood glucose testing is an important element in a diabetes treatment plan. The results that you obtain will let you know how well your diabetes is controlled and a finger stick is the easiest and most accurate test available. If the test is done correctly, it should not hurt. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of testing supplies for you.
Why is exercise so important for someone with diabetes?
Exercise is important for all of us but especially for people with diabetes. Exercise helps your insulin to work better which will help to lower your blood glucose level. It will also help you to lose weight and keep your heart healthy.
How do I sign up for diabetes classes?
You can call the Diabetes Education office at Windham Hospital. If you do not have a physician referral, we will send one to your physician. We offer classes at a variety of times to meet most people's schedules.
Other sources of information are also available through:
American Diabetes Association, CT affiliate
306 Industrial Park Rd
Middletown, CT 06457
American Diabetes Association
Publisher of Diabetes Forecast, a monthly magazine for continuing education that is part of the annual ADA subscription cost.
Diabetes Self-Management, another bimonthly publication for continuing diabetes education updates.
What is a Conversation Map?
A Conversation Map is a series of images and metaphors on a 3 by 5 foot tabletop display. It serves as a facilitation tool for healthcare professionals to use to engage groups of patients in conversations around a healthcare topic such as diabetes, heart health or obesity.
How is a Conversation Map Used?
The healthcare professional places the Conversation Map on a tabletop and sits around the table with patients. The healthcare professional navigates 3-10 patients through the Conversation Map topics represented by the visual metaphors on the Conversation Map and facilitates interactive activities that identify facts and myths around the healthcare topic and uncover information on key topics related to the health condition.
What Makes Conversation Maps Work?
Conversation Maps are designed to be interactive and to help the patient discover the information that you want and need to know around a health condition that you or a loved one is managing. The Conversation Map sessions create a forum for patients to engage with each other and a healthcare professional, to share stories, to ask questions and to develop action plans to make behavior changes. Here are a couple of quotes from patients that have participated in Conversation Map sessions:
"The Conversation Map group learning style allows people to ask questions without feeling alone." - Diabetes Patient
"I feel less anxious as a result of conversations with my peers." - Diabetes Patient
"Sharing experiences within a group and learning how other people cope with the disease is great. I have learned that I am not alone." - Diabetes Patient
"Everything is there. For the first time in my life I feel like I have hope that I will be able to manage my diabetes" - Diabetes Patient
Overview of Conversation Map Process:
The Conversation Maps utilize several components to support the learning process. They include:
- The Conversation Map Visual - The Map visual (or simply "Map") creates a "common mental model" or picture for all participants to learn from and discuss. It is a 3' by 5' colorful picture or metaphor that the group will focus on and navigate through during the session.
- The Conversation Questions - the health educator reads the conversation questions and prompt the participants to discuss a variety of topics related to the health condition at various points throughout the session.
- The Discussion Cards - Discussion cards are used to bring additional information and engagement to the sessions. They have a game-like feel, which makes the learning process more engaging.
- The Group (participants) - Conversation Maps are designed to be used with groups of 3 to 10 participants. This provides enough participants to learn from one another, but not too many that the size of the group prohibits effective interaction. Everyone should be able to learn from the process and participate in the learning and the doing.
- The Facilitator - The facilitator's role is to create a non-threatening environment in which participants can learn from the materials presented, from one another and from the facilitator.
- Action Plan - Participants create an action plan to help them make changes in their decision-making and behaviors. In some cases the action plan is robust, while in other cases it provides a starting point for participants with which to experiment.