There are a number of chronic illnesses that affect people and their quality of life. One of these being diabetes, which comes in different types. In his role, Senior Care Coordinator for CareComplete, Aidan Searle, has the opportunity to teach and empower his customers to better their lives, one small change at a time.
Aidan is both a Registered Nurse and a Credentialled Diabetes Educator. Just over two years ago, he found himself working with a Care Coordinator at a GP practice, who informed him that the CareComplete program was expanding and opening up new roles. Aidan took the opportunity and soon after found himself part of the CareComplete family. Currently, he works within two programs – CarePoint and CareFirst.
“CarePoint is a program to support people who have complex health needs/diagnoses and who have had recent unplanned hospitalisations. My team and I carry out an assessment of a customer in their home with regards to any chronic health condition they may have, this may include diabetes. As a Care Coordinator, it’s my job to guide them and link them with necessary professionals and services,” says Aidan.
“How we support a person diagnosed with diabetes is to support them to keep them on track with the items and treatments they need such as getting their eyes checked, connecting them with a diabetes educator, and making sure they have blood glucose monitors if they need one.”
Aidan at work with a colleague.
Aidan also works in CareFirst, a health coaching program where he helps customers with diabetes set goals. This may include working with them on their diet and exercise, which could mean connecting them with a dietician or an exercise program. It’s about giving them the tools they need to manage their diabetes and empower them to really look after themselves.
The two main types of diabetes that Aidan works with are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. He explains that each type falls separately into the two programs he is a part of.
“Type 1 diabetes is when the part of the pancreas that produces insulin is no longer able to produce adequate amounts of this hormone for the bodies requirements. The only treatment for this is to give those who live with this type of diabetes insulin, usually multiple times a day,” he says.
“The other form is Type 2 diabetes, this is far more prevalent and often associated with people who are overweight or have a genetic link to it. Treatment for this form of Diabetes often includes assessing one’s lifestyle and making a positive change including looking at a customer’s diet and level of physical activity.”
There are a few different ways in which diabetes can affect a person’s life, which is why it’s important for those who are living with it to focus on their health. People with diabetes also have a higher chance of having cardiovascular problems, which could lead to a stroke, affecting a person’s eyesight, and reduced function in their kidneys. Diabetes can also affect the nerves in the legs and feet as well as the circulation.
“They go hand in hand. If you have diabetes and cut your toe, you may not feel it, because the blood supply isn’t great, then it may not heal. In some situations, this could even lead to amputation.”
Asked how he is able to make an impact on people’s lives through his role, Aidan says for him, it’s about giving customers the tools and knowledge they need to be able to get better health outcomes with regards to their diabetes. Currently, Aidan is working with a customer who enrolled in the CareFirst program but throughout the process found himself a part of the CarePoint program instead.
“When he first came to us, he presented with Osteoarthritis and he hadn’t had any pathology tests done in a while so the first thing we did was get a GP to do a whole series of pathology tests. When the results came back, he received a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes as well as prostate cancer,” Aidan says.
“With CareComplete’s guidance, he has made some changes – radically changed his diet, increased the amount of exercise he does, and has taken a much more proactive approach to his own health. He’s embraced positive lifestyle changes for his own wellbeing.”
Being a CareComplete clinician with Medibank is something Aidan says he is proud of as it allows him to be in a community role, which he is very passionate about.
“Medibank provides us with the infrastructure and equipment we need to be able to carry out our jobs. I’m part of something that is proactive and allows us to prevent customers’ health from getting worse. Working with people to try and improve their health before anything serious happens is an incredible model that I’m extremely supportive of.”
His role gives him the opportunity to spend time with his customers and really understand what it is they need for a better life. And what’s even better, it puts him in a position to carry out his job and build deep relationships filled with trust.
“Every single day I can have a positive impact on people’s lives. I speak to most of my customers monthly and even when there haven’t been significant changes in their health, I know I’m still affecting their lives by just showing I care. I’m often talking to people who are elderly and isolated, and they really appreciate that someone is showing an interest in them. It’s a privilege.”
Although he works with other people’s health, Aidan isn’t someone to forget that his wellbeing should also be at the top of his priorities, something he often reminds his children.
“I play tennis and basketball and have three kids who are also involved in sports. We recently welcomed a puppy as a new addition to the family with the aim of making us more active. I’m a diabetes educator and I make sure to practice what I preach. Our health is absolutely everything.”
At a friendly tennis match.
Aidan’s son with their puppy, Ally.