We’re Here for You: Diabetes Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

| Posted On Apr 27, 2020 | By:

letters in word diabetes held up by peopleIf you have diabetes, you may wish that your pancreas could give you a pass on managing your blood sugar during this pandemic! But unfortunately your body still needs the same care, even if your mind and your priorities take you to so many other places right now. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that you minimize health situations that would require an in-person clinic visit or a trip to the emergency room where you could be exposed to this virus or pass it to others if you are already infected. Having diabetes also puts you at a higher risk for a serious COVID-19 infection if you are exposed. The key point is to keep you as healthy as possible right now!

One important way to stay healthy is to make sure you have enough of your diabetes medications on hand. Most health insurance plans have relaxed their rules for filling your prescriptions and will now allow you to stock up ahead of schedule. Some pharmacies deliver medications or offer curbside or drive-thru pick-up options. Our Atrius Health pharmacies will mail most prescriptions at no charge to you or will bring your medications out to your car if you are picking them up; they can even arrange for personal delivery of medications that are difficult to mail, such as those that require refrigeration or are in liquid form. To take advantage of the service option that’s right for you, call your Atrius Health pharmacy and select the phone option that allows you to speak directly with a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. If you are picking up your prescriptions in person, be aware that some of our pharmacies have temporarily closed to consolidate our work – be sure you confirm which pharmacy to visit before heading out.

Once you have enough medications at home, make sure to adjust your routines so that you remember to take each dose. If your work situation has changed or your daily schedule is off from normal, it can be easy to forget to take or inject your medications. Take a moment to think about the “new normal” and set a schedule to make taking your medications an obvious part of your day. Making sure you have regular meals and a set bedtime can also help keep you on track.

Another key to diabetes health is to keep tracking your blood sugars just as you normally do. This will allow you to continue to connect your diet and exercise (both very important!) with their impact on your blood sugar readings and help your clinician know how to adjust your medications if needed. Blood sugar readings are one important way your care team can help you manage your diabetes even if you aren’t currently going in to get regular laboratory tests, such as hemoglobin A1C levels.

And speaking of your clinician, now is the best time for you to keep up your visits with everyone on your care team. This may sound contradictory – after all, you might assume your doctor is extremely busy on the front lines of this pandemic! But our physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals are coordinating their schedules to allow for both COVID-19 care and time to care for everything else our patients need. They can meet virtually with you, by phone or video, to continue the good work you’ve been doing with them to optimize your health. So don’t hold off making that appointment, trying this new world of virtual care, and calling us if you have any questions or concerns.

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About Amy Vachon, PharmD

Amy Vachon, PharmD is Director of the Atrius Health Clinical Pharmacy Program and co-chair of the Atrius Health Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee. She joined Harvard Vanguard in 1996 and has worked to grow the Clinical Pharmacy Program which provides services to patients at many of our Atrius Health locations. Prior to working at Atrius Health, Amy was the Assistant Director for Clinical Pharmacy Services at Beth Israel Hospital, and before that, she worked in the operating room at Tufts Medical Center as a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Anesthesia and Operating Room Pharmacy. Amy graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Michigan, and completed a residency in pharmacy practice at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Amy is also passionate about creating the opportunity for work/life balance that allows every employee to be his or her best contributor to the workplace, and is the author, together with her husband, of Equally Shared Parenting: Rewriting the Rules for a New Generation of Parents (Perigee Penguin 2011). She’s the mother of two children and an avid amateur violinist in her spare time.

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