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Sacred Heart Press Release


Sacred Heart Announces New Comprehensive Diabetes Education Program


December 15, 2011

Abby Barlok

Publications Specialist




ALLENTOWN, PAIn a move to bring health education directly to its patients and provide easy access to meet an urgent need, Sacred Heart HealthCare System, has announced that it will begin a comprehensive diabetes education program. 

About Diabetes

Diabetes is a major threat to the well-being and productivity of the American work force.  More than 24 million people have it – and millions more will get it in the next five years. 

In Pennsylvania, 863,000 adults 18 years and older, over 9% of the population, have been diagnosed with diabetes.  It is estimated that over 1,000,000 individuals have diabetes if you include diagnosed and undiagnosed. 

For people with diabetes, staying healthy requires education.  But very few of the millions who have it receive any diabetes education at all. 

Why aren’t more people with diabetes enrolling in programs?  So far, there haven’t been enough programs available, or the existing programs haven’t been adequately publicized.  Existing classes have sometimes been difficult to get into.  Sacred Heart HealthCare System’s new diabetes education program is intended to remedy this situation. 

With diabetes, knowledge is power.  The daily routine of people with diabetes calls for testing their blood sugars several times and paying close attention to what and how much they eat to manage their carbohydrate intake.  It may also require taking oral medications or injecting insulin to keep their blood sugar levels right.  It’s a big job and it’s up to the person with diabetes to do it. 

Studies show that people who have attended diabetes education classes run a four times lower risk of developing the 'complications' of diabetes – complications, such as heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure and amputations. 

That’s why Sacred Heart HealthCare System wants everyone to know about its new program called the ABC Diabetes Education Program.  'With diabetes on the rise, we recognized that education is the best way to help people manage their diabetes,' said John Nespoli, President/CEO, Sacred Heart HealthCare System.  'It’s not only the right thing to do – it should actually lower health care costs in the long run, by helping people avoid the terrible complications of diabetes now and in the future.'

Diabetes education is a lifelong process.  Since diabetes care is continually evolving, people with diabetes need ongoing education to stay informed about new tools and techniques to keep themselves healthy and productive.  The new program is being continually updated.  People who have had diabetes education in the past are encouraged to join the new classes. 

About Sacred Heart’s ABC Diabetes Education Program

ABC Diabetes Education Program offers these key program elements:

  • Understanding diabetes and the latest treatment options.
  • Monitoring blood glucose (blood sugar) and other parameters.
  • Interpreting and using the results of monitoring for self-management decision making.
  • Incorporating nutritional management into your lifestyle.
  • Incorporating physical activity into your daily life.
  • Preventing, detecting and treating chronic complications.
  • Using medications safely and for maximum effectiveness.
  • Developing strategies to address psychosocial issues and concern.
  • Developing personal strategies to promote health and behavior change.
  • Collaborative development of a personalized follow-up plan for ongoing self management support. 

The program also stresses the education and involvement of the family of the individual with diabetes.  'When a person has diabetes, it affects the entire family,' says Linda Scott, Director of Staff Development.  'We are encouraging everyone to bring family and friends to the program to learn how to help.  We want people to stay healthy now and for years to come.' 

A Few Facts About the ABC Diabetes Education Program

  • The program is recognized by the American Diabetes Association and the classes are designed to be highly interactive in an atmosphere that is relaxed and supportive. 
  • The ABC Diabetes program is designed both for people who have just been diagnosed and for those who have had diabetes for many years. It is important to have the most up-to-date information in order to confidently manage your diabetes. 
  • The Program is covered by most insurance companies, so there is usually no cost to the participants.
  • Tracking blood sugar is important for managing diabetes. If a participant doesn’t have one, at their first class, they’ll receive a free, state-of-the-art blood glucose meter, valued at $70.
  • Participants will receive a book about diabetes management that is theirs to keep. It has spaces for notes, and is covered by insurance as part of the program.


'I am now more confident that diabetes is treatable and controllable...The more you can be informed about self-management, the better the control of diabetes.'


'[My instructor] took the time with each of us, directed her attention to everyone in the room, and made sure that she got a hold on what our individual concerns were... This class taught me things that no one in 20 years ever mentioned!'

— CS

To find out more about Sacred Heart’s ABC Diabetes Education Program, call toll-free at 1-877-533-4222. 

About Sacred Heart Hospital

Sacred Heart Hospital is a 233-bed Catholic medical center located in central Allentown, Pa. Founded in 1912, Sacred Heart Hospital offers a wide range of advanced medical services ranging from acute rehabilitation to bariatric services to adult psychiatric services. A network of physician practices throughout Lehigh and Northampton Counties provide complete primary and pediatric medical care to the region’s residents. Sacred Heart Hospital is nationally recognized in case management, as a Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, and its Transitional Care Facility was granted a Five-Star rating by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Sacred Heart Hospital earned Primary Stroke Center certification from The Joint Commission as well as the Silver Performance Achievement Award from the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program. Additional information is available at www.shh.org.

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