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Newly Diagnosed Patients Can Be Easily Overwhelmed

Jul 12, 2015

A female patient, 68 years of age, newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes had her initial visit with her endocrinologist and diabetes educator. Her second visit was then scheduled for two weeks later. However, the patient was a no-show for her second appointment. She was contacted for reschedule. However, she said she didn’t want to come in yet because she had not been checking her glucose levels, and was confused about what she learned. We encouraged her to come in sooner rather than later and let her know that we understood that it was a lot of information to remember. She made the appointment and came in….

During our visit she told us she didn’t want to let us down because she didn’t do everything we asked her to do. She said she was overwhelmed and didn’t really understand, so she just decided to give up. However, because of our call she came back.


During that second visit we zeroed in on only one aspect of her diabetes management. We reviewed the technique of checking her blood glucose levels, with her return demonstration. We told her that we didn’t expect her numbers to be in her target range yet but just knowing numbers help us help her adjust her treatment. She left our office with clear direction of what her next step was to be, and set up her third appointment.

Lessons Learned:

  • Some patients want to please their health care providers. If they don’t feel like they are making the progress they think they should, they may feel like they let you down.
  • Follow up with patients who don’t follow up. It may be because they need your help more than you or they know.
  • Don’t overwhelm patients with too much information. For many, one aspect of care at a time is what works best.

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