Diabetes is best managed with the support of a diabetes healthcare team. The team approach will help you learn everything you need to know about diabetes, treatment and management.
Many people can be part of your health care team to help you live well with diabetes. Your team can be made up of health professionals as well as your family and friends. But you are the most important member. You make the day-to-day decisions about your diabetes, and the more you know about diabetes, the easier this will be.
The following are the kinds of people you may wish to have in your health care team. Talk to your doctor about what is right for you.
Family doctor/ GP
When you are first diagnosed, your family doctor is the best doctor to see first. If you don’t have a family doctor then any general practitioner will be able to help you. Your doctor has a central role in assessing your diabetes and helping you manage it. They can refer you to any specialists that you may need to see.
Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE)
A Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE) will work with you to help you understand and manage your diabetes. They can provide a wide range of general information about diabetes and associated complications.
Your doctor can refer you to a CDE in your area, or you can find a CDE on the Australian Diabetes Educators Association website, or your local hospital, diabetes centre and community health centres which are listed in the telephone directory, may have a CDE.
A dietitian will work with you to develop a personalised healthy eating plan to suit your lifestyle, your type of diabetes and individual health needs. They can teach you how to read food labels, modify recipes and even how to order at restaurants.
Contact the Dietitians Association of Australia on 1800 812 942, or contact your local hospital (not all hospitals have dietitians), diabetes centre and community health centres which are listed in the telephone directory.
Note: Medicare may provide a rebate on dietitians’ fees if you have a chronic condition and are referred by your doctor. If you have private health insurance you may also receive a rebate, depending on the type of cover you have
An endocrinologist is a medical specialist who can provide expert advice on the management of diabetes. They know how to treat conditions that are often complex and involve many systems within your body.
You need a referral from your doctor to see an endocrinologist.
A pharmacist at your local NDSS Access Point can give advice about how to get the best benefit from your medicines and discuss the side effects. Pharmacists have a broad scope of knowledge and can help you manage different medications. Your doctor can ask for a pharmacist to do a medication review with you.
Any local pharmacist can help you. Your doctor can arrange for a pharmacist to do a Home Medication Review with you.
You need to see a podiatrist regularly to check your feet. Diabetes can increase your risk of foot ulcers and amputations. A podiatrist can check your feet and determine if you have a low or high risk of developing more serious problems.
Note: Medicare may provide a rebate on podiatrists’ fees if you have a chronic condition and are referred by your doctor. Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) gold card holders are entitled to free podiatry services from private podiatrists.
The Podiatry Association in your state will help you to find a podiatrist with specialised knowledge about diabetes.Private health funds cover some podiatry services.
Counsellor, psychologist, psychiatrist or a social worker
A counsellor, psychologist, psychiatrist or a social worker can help you if you are having any kind of trouble dealing with the psychological side of diabetes. This is just as important as the physical side of diabetes as stress isn't good for diabetes or your general health and wellbeing.
You can contact counsellors, social workers (social workers generally work for community services, such as local councils, health centres and hospitals) and psychologists directly, OR
Talk to your doctor or community or youth health centre about a referral. You will need a referral from your doctor to see a psychiatrist.
Note: Medicare may provide a rebate on psychologists' or counsellors’ fees if you have a chronic condition and are referred by your doctor. If you have private health insurance you may also receive a rebate, depending on the type of cover you have.
An exercise physiologist/physiotherapist can help you determine the appropriate exercise/activity plan for you, individually suited to your needs and lifestyle. Ask your doctor for a referral, or contact the Australian Association for Exercise and Sports Science.
Note: Medicare may provide a rebate on physiotherapists' or exercise physiologists' fees if you have a chronic condition. If you have private health insurance you may also receive a rebate, depending on the type of
All people with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetes-related eye disease which, if left untreated, can cause vision impairment or blindness. Most diabetes-related eye diseases do not show symptoms early, so you need to visit an optometrist regularly for a comprehensive eye examination.
Visit www.goodvisionforlife.com.au to find your local optometrist.
You need to regularly see a dentist that knows you have diabetes so that they can regularly review your teeth and gums. Diabetes can affect teeth for a couple of reasons:
- Increased levels of sugar in the saliva can put people with diabetes at increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease
- Impaired circulation around the gums can prevent gums from healing when there is some injury or trauma.
Any local dentist can help you.
Note: Medicare may provide a rebate on dentists’ fees if you have a chronic condition and are referred by your doctor. If you have private health insurance you may also receive a rebate, depending on the type of cover you have.
Diabetes Centres can provide you with specialised advice to help you manage your diabetes. Diabetes Centres are located in public hospitals, some private hospitals and some community health centres. Your doctor can arrange a referral to a Diabetes Centre near you.
Family & Friends
Your family and friends can provide day-to-day support and assistance in managing your emotional health, physical health, and motivation for diabetes self-management.