PHILADELPHIA — Being prepared for something as disastrous as Hurricane Katrina, or as common as a thunderstorm power outage, can be a matter of life or death for a patient with diabetes, according to a presentation at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists 21st Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress Meeting.
Jeffrey Jackson, MD, senior medical advisor for Eli Lilly Diabetes, and Lawrence Blonde, MD, FACP, FACE, director of Ochsner Diabetes Clinic Research Unit Department of Endocrinology, and Diabetes and Metabolism Associate Internal Medicine Residency Program Director at Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, spoke about the importance of disaster preparedness for patients at a press conference.
“In our day-to-day lives we really don’t take time out to plan for emergencies. But when an emergency strikes, it’s important for people with any medical problem like diabetes to have a plan that is in place to ensure they’re going to have the resources necessary to take care of their problems,” Blonde said.
Jackson, who lived in central Texas in 2005, volunteered at evacuation shelters through hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and saw firsthand that preparedness was important for not only disasters, but also everyday situations.
“In 2012, the program expanded to include not only disaster preparedness, but also emergency preparedness. The new EmPower Diabetes Emergency Plan takes into account the everyday emergencies that people encounter, such as power outages after a thunderstorm, or a car breaking down, as well as disasters people can face, such as a hurricane. The ACE/Lily Diabetes EmPower Diabetes Emergency Plan Checklist is a comprehensive tool to help a person with diabetes plan to have access to proper care and the supplies they need to manage their diabetes during emergency, big or small,” Jackson said at the presentation.
New this year, Jackson and Blonde presented a video on how to prepare an emergency kit at home. The video suggests keeping a list of the following information: type of diabetes; all medical conditions, including allergies and prior surgeries; pharmacy contact information; active prescription information and eligible refills; previous diabetes medications and reasons for discontinuation; and contact information for all healthcare providers.
In addition to the EmPower Diabetes Emergency Plan, the EmPower Patient Education Program provides patient health awareness through YouTube, EmPower Magazine, and other online resources, according to Donald Bergman, MD, MACE, former President of AACE and Endocrine Today Editorial Board member, who founded the initiative in 2003 under the name Power of Prevention.
“We’re providing information for patients about what to do about their illness so that they’ll understand it better when they go to see their physicians,” Bergman said during a press conference.