The Diabetes Care Team
The diabetes care team's role is to make sure people living with diabetes get the latest diabetes care. Together, the person with diabetes (and/or his or her parent or other care partner) will work with the diabetes care team to create a diabetes care plan that is designed to fit individual needs. Sometimes one is lucky enough to have access to a medical practice that specializes in diabetes and will already have most of the team members needed all in one place. But usually the person with diabetes (or his or her caregiver) is responsible for assembling the care team. However, it can be helpful to ask your current health care providers if they have referrals or recommendations for the other providers you need—many times they will.
Each member of the care team is important. Remember, the person with type 1 diabetes (whether it's you, your child, or other loved one you care for) is the most important person on the team. Of course, if the person with diabetes is very young, the parent or care partner needs to play a major role in that person’s diabetes care until he or she is old enough to do more. Along with the primary care doctor, the diabetes care team may include these professionals:
- Diabetes educator—teaches people about diabetes, including how to check blood sugar and reduce the risk of diabetes-related problems
- Registered dietitian—helps people create meal plans that fit their personal needs and tastes
- Eye doctor—performs an eye exam at least once a year to check for eye problems related to type 1 diabetes
- Foot doctor (podiatrist)—checks feet for wounds and infections
- Pharmacist—fills prescriptions and answers questions about medicines
- Counselor or therapist—helps people cope with any stress they may have from living with diabetes
Help and support are also available from various diabetes support groups (there’s probably one near you) and online. For example, the Cornerstones4Care® Diabetes Health Coach is an online program offering a step-by-step learning and action plan for people with type 1 diabetes that is created based on their own preferences and needs. It helps people with type 1 diabetes to build the healthy habits and skills they need to better manage diabetes.