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Project works to improve diabetic outcomes for fasting patients

Friday, 28 June 2024

A Barwon Health project to improve care to people with diabetes fasting during Ramadan has been presented at a state Australian Diabetes Educators Association conference.

Registered nurse and credentialed diabetes educator (CDE) Anitha Ritchie and dietitian CDE Louise Bolger presented their project ‘Improving Client Care in People with Diabetes during Ramadan’ on 31 May at the Melbourne Cricket Ground event.

The work aims to improve the care provided to the local Muslim population with diabetes, while educating them on how to minimise risks associated with fasting for Ramadan.

Anitha said there was a high population of Muslim residents in Corio and Norlane who are refugees from Afghanistan with low health literacy.

“Education in previous years was provided on an ‘ad hoc’ basis to those who mentioned they were fasting,” she said.

“Evidence suggests that people with diabetes choose to fast without seeking medical advice.”

The structured program included 10 participants and consisted of group education around dispelling myths regarding fasting and nutrition education, consults with the CDE around medical management pre- and post-Ramadan, CDE and NP consultation and GP correspondence.

Those who used insulin were also able to wear a Libre glucose sensor during the fasting period to provide 24-hour data of blood glucose levels. At the end of the program, all participants reported they “felt supported by their health care team” and “would participate in a similar project next year”.

The project was developed by two Corio Community Health CDEs Robyn Barber and Anitha Ritchie, as a collaborative effort across disciplines involving Louise Bolger, nurse practitioner Leanne Hume, bicultural worker Maryam Esghaei and Dari/Hazaragi interpreter Saeideh Yaghmaei.

Pictured: Louise Bolger and Anitha Ritchie.