As a patient who received diabetes care and education at The Scarborough Hospital (TSH), Mrs. Kassam was naturally hesitant about the prospect of being treated in a community-based setting. However, after transitioning from TSH to Carefirst Seniors and Community Services Association (Carefirst) through the new Scarborough Integrated Diabetes Education Program, she has been equally impressed with the level of care and service.
“When I was first diagnosed with diabetes 10 years ago, I received my education at TSH and so when I needed to go back, that’s where I wanted to go,” said Mrs. Kassam, who has lived in Scarborough for 25 years.
“The new format is great, and I’m very impressed with the depth of information and the personal touch of the program.”
The Scarborough Integrated Diabetes Education Program is a partnership between TSH, Rouge Valley Health System, Carefirst, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities, and TAIBU Community Health Centre. The Program formalizes the connection between the diabetes programs at each organization in order to improve access and quality of care. Patients are linked to the most appropriate level of care and are provided with the supports required to help them manage their condition.
Mrs. Kassam has truly benefitted from the program in this way. She appreciates how the instructor at Carefirst provides practical tips for each person’s unique lifestyle, takes the time to answer everyone’s questions and “has a wonderful sense of humour”.
“I’m a teacher, so she gave me pointers that work for my life,” she adds.
“The instructor is also so encouraging, which makes you feel like you’re making a difference and want to do even better. I have definitely seen improvements in my health.”
Mrs. Kassam’s husband, who was diagnosed with diabetes around the same time as she was, also visits Carefirst.
“My husband warmed up to the instructor too,” said Mrs. Kassam.
“Since food is often social, it’s great that he’s on board; it makes lifestyle changes a lot easier.”
“There is an urgent need to provide this sort of collaborative, seamless care to diabetes patients in Scarborough,” said Ethel Doyle, Patient Care Director of Nephrology, Diabetes, Cardiology, Ambulatory Respirology and the Family Medicine Teaching Unit at TSH.
“Scarborough has the highest prevalence of diabetes in the regions covered by the Central East Local Health Integration Network (Central East LHIN) and all central east regions combined have the highest prevalence of diabetes across the province.”
Trixie Williams, Regional Lead, Diabetes and Vascular Health Team at the Central East LHIN, adds that the Scarborough Integrated Diabetes Education Program “is very much aligned with the mission of the Central East LHIN, which is to create an integrated, sustainable health care system that ensures better health, better care and better value for money.
“What’s more, the program delivers on the Central East LHIN’s vascular health strategy, which is focused on reducing the incidence of vascular disease, especially in those with Type 2 diabetes.”
Mrs. Kassam and her husband would both highly recommend the community-based care they receive at Carefirst through the Scarborough Integrated Diabetes Education Program to anyone who has been diagnosed with diabetes.
“We look forward to going every couple months,” said Mrs. Kassam.
“It’s a friendly environment with friendly people where we are all free to talk, interact and receive support to make healthy changes.”