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Fall/Winter 2013 • 38
By Casey Archibald
carchibald@postregister.com
A
continuum of services. Tat’s what has inspired many of
the recent changes and the addition of several diferent
programs at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in
Idaho Falls.
One such program was developed March of this year in an
efort to provide continuous care for diabetic and insulin resis-
tant patients who have gone through the Diabetes Education
program at EIRMC.
Te new program is called Walk and Talk and was originally
inspired by Melissa Curtis, a Registered Nurse and Certifed Di-
abetes Educator at the hospital.
Curtis was meeting with a patient and explaining to him that
exercise is an important part of dealing with diabetes. Te pa-
tient told Curtis that he didn’t have much time for exercise, and
that is when the educator said, “Well, why don’t we go outside
and go on a walk!”
Chessin explained that exercise is one of the best ways to pre-
vent diabetes and to keep it under control.
Te patient and nurse walked for the duration of their ap-
pointment. When Curtis told Valerie Chessin, the Diabetes Pro-
gram Coordinator and also a Registered Nurse about the experi-
ence, Chessin took the idea to the next level and worked to create
Walk and Talk.
Walk and Talk takes place every Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. and ev-
ery Tursday at noon. Either Curtis or Chessin meets up with
diabetes or insulin resistance patients in the lobby of the Medical
Ofces building at the hospital. From there, they take a walk that
can last as long as the patient or patients want, up to 30 minutes.
“We spend a lot of time talking to our patients during our ap-
pointments about exercise and the importance of being active, so
we thought, ‘why not talk about this while we are actually doing
it?’” said Chessin.
Chessin explained the walks as “patient-directed,” meaning
they can decide the pace and length. Patients have the oppor-
tunity to ask medical questions relating mostly to diabetes and
insulin resistance, but also things like high blood pressure and
cholesterol. Walk and Talk is also free of charge.
“Te fact that it’s free is one of the best parts about Walk and
Talk,” said Chessin. “At no cost to yourself you can actually walk
with someone who is an expert in [diabetes and insulin resis-
tance] and who can give you concrete and correct information.”
Chessin said the program is a method of ongoing care that
reaches beyond the Diabetes Education services that already ex-
ist at EIRMC. Te program is recognized by the American Dia-
betes Association.
Te Walk and Talk program doesn’t require a strong commit-
ment. Instead, patients can come whenever they please for how-
ever long suits their schedule, Chessin said.
“You don’t have to sign up in advance for the program,” said
Chessin. “All you have to do is sign a one-time waiver saying that
if something happens we are not held responsible. If the weather
is not cooperating the day you want to come, we can walk inside
the building, that’s something we have done before.”
Right now, the program is open to all the patients who have
gone through the Diabetes Education program at EIRMC. Ches-
sin said it doesn’t matter how long ago they attended, they can
still participate in Walk and Talk. She also said she hopes to ex-
pand the program to the public.
“Once you are done with the Diabetes Education program we
don’t want to leave you alone to fgure everything out. We want
to answer your questions and we are going to take care of you.”
Chessin said she hopes the program will grow and that more
patients will come to get their questions answered about their
medical concerns. n
Walk and Talk
Program helps get patients moving