Diabetic Patients Inspire a Therapist ‘s Quest

Nina Robins dreams big. She envisions the day when diabetes patients will enjoy better health and fewer hospital admissions by actively participating in community-based support groups. And she’s taken first steps to make her dream come true.

As a sub-acute occupational therapist at West Suburban Medical Center, Nina came to realize that more than 90 percent of her patients had diabetes. Most of them didn’t understand their condition, led sedentary lives and faced recurring hospital admissions.  Disturbed by their plight, Nina began her quest.

When Nina asked a long-time diabetic to identify the greatest need that patients have, the answer came quickly. “We need a diabetes store in the community,” said the patient. Nina understood. Patients need a place to go to learn how to live better with their disease.

Nina decided that she would create such a place at West Suburban by developing a collaborative program to support diabetic patients in sub-acute care. When Nina reached out to nurse educators and dietitians in West Suburban’s outpatient diabetes program, her idea was enthusiastically received.

In November, Diabetes Awareness Month, the new diabetes training groups began. Patients were invited to attend sessions by dietitians and diabetes nurse educators. Then occupational therapists helped patients practice monitoring and recording blood sugar levels, perform proper foot care and discover ways to become more physically active.

Already Nina is observing improvements in patient’s emotional and physical well-being. She is developing a pre- and post-program assessment to document the program’s performance. As she gathers data, Nina hopes to use it to secure grants for funding to take the program into communities where it will be more accessible.

Nina sees her role in creating the program as part of her job. “As occupational therapists, we strive to help patients enjoy meaningful, purposeful lives by being their own advocates,” says Nina. “Supporting diabetic patients fits in with that, and helps us fulfill our mission as a community hospital.”

West Suburban compassionate care givers earned the American Diabetes Association’s recognition for our work in diabetes education. They are committed to helping our patients achieve health for life! Patients who join the Center for Diabetes & Nutrition Education, enjoy these benefits:

  • One on one education sessions with the Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, or one-on-one education sessions with the Registered Dietitian
  • General Nutrition counseling, including: weight management, kidney disease, celiac disease, cardiovascular disease, and more!
  • Group Diabetes Classes
  • Insulin Pump Training
  • Continuous Glucose Monitoring (if indicated)
  • Gestational Diabetes Counseling

Office Hours:

Mondays:   12 noon – 4 p.m.
Tuesdays:   8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesdays:   8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursdays: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Fridays:   8 a.m. – 12 noon

Contact us today at (708) 763-1368 with any questions you may have.