Story by: Norton Children’s on April 5, 2022
When a patient is newly diagnosed with diabetes, learning how to effectively manage their condition is a top priority at the Wendy Novak Diabetes Institute, part of Norton Children’s Endocrinology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.
A support staff of dietitians, social workers, child life specialists, doctors and nurses provide a host of diabetes resources to help kids and their families navigate the diabetes journey.
All new patients are provided with several tools to help them learn how to manage diabetes. These tools include a custom diabetes manual and an educational place mat that guides decisions during mealtimes. There are also virtual cooking classes and an on-site food pantry that gives families access to healthy foods. Each patient’s care team is ready to provide additional support and training.
“We want our patients to be set up for success during each step of their diabetes journey,” said Eric Davenport, R.D., L.D., CDCES, MLDCES, a certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian with Norton Children’s Endocrinology. “All of these diabetes resources can help kids and their families learn about diabetes and how to manage it in different situations.”
The Wendy Novak Diabetes Institute provides all patients with a comprehensive diabetes manual, one of the most important diabetes resources for kids and their families. This handbook educates patients and caregivers about living with diabetes, including the different ways diabetes affects the body, and how to manage the condition (calculating insulin, using insulin pumps, nutritional choices). It also includes additional resources, such as travel tips and how to participate in research studies.
A dietitian or diabetes educator can work with patients and their families using the diabetes manual to customize a tailored plan based on the child’s lifestyle.
The team at the Wendy Novak Diabetes Institute provides supporting materials to help educate and empower patients and families during everyday activities, including mealtimes. Each family is provided with an educational “insulin dose place mat.” The place mat is reusable, laminated for easy cleanup and can be used during mealtimes to track a patient’s carbohydrate intake and calculate insulin dosage.
The Wendy Novak Diabetes Institute helps create healthier futures for children with diabetes by providing specialized care, educational tools and resources for families.
Families also can participate in cooking classes, which are part of the nutrition program. Classes range from preparing basic meals to full holiday meal planning. All classes focus on incorporating healthy and safe alternatives to traditional ingredients for patients with diabetes. These classes are offered in different formats, allowing families to learn in-person or virtually via Zoom. In-person classes provide hands-on training in the Wendy Novak Diabetes Institute’s state-of-the-art kitchen.
The Wendy Novak Diabetes Institute is located inside the Novak Center for Children’s Health, where patients have access to a prescriptive food pantry. The food pantry is stocked with healthy options, such as low-sugar cereals, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, low-sodium pasta sauce, tuna, peanut butter, canned fruit in natural juices and canned vegetables with no added salt. Additional pantries are available at select Norton Children’s Medical Group locations for families who need access to healthy foods.