The Role of Diabetes Education in Primary Health Care

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Diabetes is a complex chronic condition that requires ongoing clinical care and self-management. For a person with diabetes to self-manage, education is integral. With nearly 1.2 million people diagnosed and registered with NDSS as having diabetes1, the potential demand for health professional time is great.

Effective diabetes self-management requires education to understand the skills required for daily diabetes self-care. Individualised education may include; but is not limited to, correct techniques for blood glucose monitoring and/or insulin administration as well as knowing how medications, exercise and food impacts blood glucose levels. To make things complicated, diabetes medication and technology options as well as research continually evolve making it challenging to remain current and up-to-date with diabetes. This is where those specialising in diabetes including Credentialled Diabetes Educators can help!

Credentialled Diabetes Educators; also known as CDE’s, have been recognised for their experience and expertise in diabetes and are committed to ongoing professional development in diabetes. CDE’s are registered through the Australian Diabetes Educator Association (therefore recognised by Medicare) and are also registered with their primary discipline association. A health professional can become a CDE if they have a background in Nursing, Dietetics, Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology, Pharmacy, Podiatry, Midwifery or is a Medical Practitioner. This allows an array of different health professionals to help educate people with diabetes.

Research has found that diabetes education is associated with improved diabetes knowledge, improved self-care behaviour, improved clinical outcomes such as a lower HbA1c, improved healthy coping and improved quality of life2. In addition, it has been estimated that diabetes education can save close to $3000 to the health care system per person with diabetes3. Services that have found to have better outcomes to clients are those with longer interventions and those that have included follow-up support2.

Where can your clients get help?

Amongst a variety of programs that Black Swan Health offers, diabetes education and diet education services are available to people with prediabetes, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. These services are free of charge to the client. To be referred into this service a client requires a referral from their doctor and needs to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Are over the age of 18
  • Require education and further specialist services to manage type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes or latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA)
  • Are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease
  • Are experiencing impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG)

One referral lasts for 12 months and allows access to individual appointments at baseline, 3 months, 6 months and twelve months as well as group education, where appropriate. To refer a client with diabetes to Black Swan Health, go to the following website for a copy of the referral form and further information:

Please note that to ensure our services remain sustainable going forward we require a GP Management Plan (GPMP) and Team Care Arrangement (TCA) for all clients diagnosed with diabetes. We also require a referral form “Individual Allied Health Services under Medicare” to be submitted indicating which health professional/s are required in your clients care.


Dayna Jaeschke
Accredited Practising Dietitian, Credentialled Diabetes Educator


  1. National Diabetes Services Scheme and Diabetes Australia 2015, All Types of Diabetes: Statistical Snapshot, National Diabetes Services Scheme and Diabetes Australia
  2. American Diabetes Association 2015, ‘Strategies for improving care’, Diabetes Care 38, sup. 1,, s20-30
  3. Deloitte Access Economics 2014, Benefits of Credentialled Diabetes Educators to people with diabetes and Australia, Deloitte Access Economic