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Kellie Rodriguez Discusses the Changing Challenges of Managing Diabetes

In the last 2 decades, the cost of healthcare has risen, but the expectations of self-management for people with diabetes has stayed the same, which has made it more challenging to live with the disease, said Kellie Rodriguez, RN, MSN, MBA, CDE, director, Global Diabetes Program, Parkland Health & Hospital System.


In the last 2 decades, the cost of healthcare has risen, but the expectations of self-management for people with diabetes has stayed the same, which has made it more challenging to live with the disease, said Kellie Rodriguez, RN, MSN, MBA, CDE, director, Global Diabetes Program, Parkland Health & Hospital System.

Have the challenges of having diabetes changed for patients since you started your career?

I think so. I’ve been working in diabetes and diabetes education for about 22 years. I’m originally from Australia and the last 14 years here in the US. I think it definitely has changed. I think for patients, certainly from both the personal perspective as well as the perspective from the healthcare system.

So, on the personal perspective, the cost of healthcare is rising, the cost of living is rising, but the expectations of people living with diabetes are not changing. The expectations are there in terms of all the elements they need to do for successful self-care and management. All the lifestyle aspects which become more costly—healthy eating, exercise, all of those sorts of resources that are necessary, the monitoring supplies that are required for effective self-management, the medications, which we see a lot of in the news in relation to the cost of medications and having those available, and certainly now we’ve got so many more pharmacotherapies available, which is wonderful, but there’s sometimes a cost to that, as well.

So, I think there’s a lot of personal reasons why this becomes challenging. And certainly, as we’re seeing younger people developing diabetes, their living with diabetes longer, which is a good thing, but in the sense of cost, the cost of the disease is also a prolonged piece as well.

I think it’s also more challenging from the health system perspective. Healthcare is challenging, I think the changes in healthcare are difficult for people working in healthcare, nevermind for people not working in healthcare and having to navigate the system. With the increasing prevalence of diabetes, access to care, the complexities of care, and the way that we’re needing to change the way that we deliver care, requires very informed consumers of care in terms of people with diabetes. So, I think it is a more challenging environment, and it’s something that we really need to be mindful of because it’s really a disease of self-management.

 
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