Diabetes educators: Who are they and what do they do?
Likely every type 1 child and their families have seen an educator: at the hospital, for insulin management, to start on a pump, or for school paperwork. But what do you really know about your diabetes educator and what are their backgrounds?
According to the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE):
A certified diabetes educator (CDE) is a healthcare professional for diabetes or people at risk for diabetes with behavioral goals to achieve better clinical outcomes. So what exactly does that mean? The idea is an educator helps a child with diabetes (or family members, in the case of children) with eating habits, exercise habits, insulin dosing, sick day management, and basically the day-to-day activities for a child that affects blood sugars and A1c levels. A diabetes educator’s background is varied. He or she may have a background as a registered nurse, a nutritionist, a pharmacist, a physician, or a mental health professional, to name a few. He or she must take a certification exam to become an educator. The basis for their education revolves around what the AADE calls the 7 self-care behaviors: healthy eating, being active, monitoring and taking medications, problem-solving, healthy coping, and reducing risks.
Who Pays to See a CDE
Typically a person with diabetes can see an educator more often than the endocrinologist; however, this is based on insurance coverage. Insurance coverage for an educator will differ between plans (so check your insurance plan out). Usually you need a referral from the endocrinologist. After the referral is made you can typically see the educator more often than the endocrinologist depending on the reason for seeing the educator.
How do you use your educator in your community? Is he or she helpful or is the endocrinologist you see more helpful? Have you seen your educator lately?
Here is the link to the American Association of Diabetes Educators with a full-page on what an educator is: