Diabetes is one of the leading health problems in our country, with an estimated 1.2 million adult Australians living it.
There is currently no cure and its management relies on a person looking after their health carefully. But it can be hard knowing how to apply self-care to keep your health under control when living with diabetes.
CareComplete is a Medibank service supporting people living with chronic and complex health conditions such as diabetes, and aims to improve quality of life.
The service has three different programs – CarePoint, CareFirst, and CareTransition. As a Care co-ordinator in CareFirst, Dorothy Neethling’s role allows her to coach and educate patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, as well as help them in managing these.
“Our team’s role is mainly about education. When diabetes isn’t managed well, complications can spread to other organs such as hearts, eyes, and kidneys,”
“It’s really important that patients know to be aware of their condition and have an understanding of how to look after themselves,” says Dorothy.
Fundraiser morning tea at Medibank’s Sydney office during National Diabetes Week 2019.
There are three main types of diabetes – Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. Dorothy connects with people who are living with both Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 is insulin-dependent diabetes and can affect both adults and children. Type 2 diabetes is more common and preventable as it can often be controlled by a healthy diet and medication.
Dorothy says, either way, the most important thing is to ensure patients have the knowledge they need.
“My team and I are here to speak to people about how looking after themselves now can create a better future for them. Through the work we do, we are able to build rapport with our patients. This is extremely helpful as this allows us to impart our knowledge slowly but surely over time.”
The CareComplete team work with a wide range of age groups but majority of the time with those aged in their 70s, 80s, and 90s.
“Some people can be quite set in their ways but once we’ve built relationships with them, they’re much more receptive of our advice,”
“The most rewarding part of my work is when I know I’ve connected with someone and have helped them understand what we, in CareComplete, are trying to do for them. It’s a great feeling!”
For Dorothy, her decision to be in the role she’s in comes down to her passion to help people.
“It’s about finding ways to help patients prevent any more health problems from arising. I want to continue educating and guiding them,” she says.
“There are a lot of people out there struggling with their health who don’t know where to go or who to talk. It’s good to know we’re here for them to reach out to if they ever need.”