Nyack Hospital certified diabetes educators worked with blind and visually impaired adults with diabetes, teaching them skills to live with and manage their disease.
Denise Roma, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, and Elizabeth Staum, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, taught 14 participants in a three-day workshop sponsored by VISIONS Center on Blindness, an overnight training and vision rehabilitation facility in Spring Valley, N.Y.
During the three days, Roma and Staum discussed topics including nutrition, exercise, diabetes medications, and complications from the disease. The last day featured a hands-on session, in which participants were taught how to test their blood sugar with "talking" glucose meters.
Blood glucose meters allow people with diabetes to manage their disease independently, but traditional versions of these meters are very difficult for people with vision loss to use. A talking meter works much in the same way as a regular glucose meter. A person pricks their finger and gets a drop of blood to the end of the test strip, which is inserted into the machine.
"It can be challenging for a visually impaired person to line up the blood drop with the test strip," Roma says. "We tell them they need to put the strip where they feel the pain from the finger stick." When the strip is inserted into the meter, the device reads out the result. The group also learned to count clicks on an insulin pen to determine how much insulin they are using.