Diabetes Conversation Map Class

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Diabetes self management is critical for good health outcomes. But, being that there is so much to tackle — medication management, blood sugar monitoring, meal planning — diabetes often can feel overwhelming and difficult at times. Successful management means getting educated, finding support and being able to connect with people facing the same obstacles that you do on a daily basis. Individual sessions with a Certified Diabetes Educator are always a good option. An alternative way to get support and education is by attending group classes. Diabetes self management group classes engage participants by stimulating conversation and teaching problem solving techniques. While there are many different diabetes education classes, one group class strategy I have found to be particularly rewarding and effective is the Diabetes Conversation Map Class.

Developed by Healthy Interactions in collaboration with the American Diabetes Association and sponsored by the Merck Journey for Control™, this class series is geared towards patient centered education. The design was meant to help both diabetes educators and participants to develop a deeper level of patient understanding and motivation for self-affirming changes. The classes are divided into five sessions with five topic areas of interest including: an overview of diabetes, healthy eating, monitoring and using your results, natural course of diabetes and gestational diabetes.

As opposed to being lectured to, the Diabetes Conversation Map Class is guided by a trained moderator, a Certified Diabetes Educator, whose role is to encourage participants to do most of the talking. She uses an interactive curricula to guide group conversation. The sessions are crafted to allow participants to ask questions about what they are most interested in learning. Participants can learn tips from one another and motivate each other to make life changes. In my experience, I have found that most participants feel empowered and inspired from those who can relate. Participants share experiences both good and bad; through discussion they are able to provide each other with meaningful, important information. 

How Will the Classes Be Organized?

Because most insurance providers offer coverage for 10 hours of Diabetes Self Management Therapy, sessions are typically spaced accordingly and will not exceed those guidelines. The exact amount of time per class will depend on the facilitator's strategy and needs of the group. Some facilitators find it’s best to conduct a one hour initial assessment followed by four, two hour classes. The size of the class will also range based on the needs of the participants, location, and population in need. Ideally classes are to be set in a relaxed, comfortable environment. The moderator will place a 3x5 conversation map in the middle of the table. Each of the five maps are organized to cover a specific topic.The moderator will walk through the intended topic using the guide materials, prompting conversation topics and questions. Each session has specific objectives, activities, and at the end of each session, participants are asked to make goals and an action plan to discuss at the next class. 

Where to Find a Class

At present time there are over 22,000 educators in the United States trained in the Conversation Map method. If you are interested in learning about a program near you ask your health care provider if they know of anyone teaching a class.

*Please note that although I am trained in Diabetes Conversation Map I do not receive any financial incentives in writing this article. The program is simply something I have found useful as a Certified Diabetes Educator. 

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