MOKA’s Residential Services believes that the health and safety of the people we serve is our top priority. We believe that everyone deserves a life full of equity and integrity, which includes the way health care is handled. Improving health care outcomes of individuals in MOKA’s residential homes has been a priority for years, says DeeAnn Hands, MOKA’s Clinical Care Coordinator, noting that individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) diagnosis are underserved by medical professionals due to their complex health care needs.

One way MOKA has been prioritizing improved healthcare has been through a partnership with The Wege Foundation to work on prevention, support, and education of adults with disabilities and diabetes. It is reported that a total of 21% of adults with disabilities have diabetes, compared to 8% of people without disabilities. This large difference in percentage was a sign that we needed to act.

MOKA wanted to target diabetes prevention because of the number of individuals at risk, along with the health care costs and employee time associated with diabetes management. With the backing of a two-year, $40,000 grant from The Wege Foundation, MOKA employees had the time and resources to develop a formal program for residential homes in four counties.

This was a team effort and needed the full support of our incredible staff to implement. Education has created a ripple effect in the community starting with expanding the knowledge of our direct support professionals regarding the prevention and treatment of diabetes type 2.  The direct support professionals have used their knowledge to support lifestyle change for the individuals in our residential programs. Including the staff members changing the home’s menu, replacing carbohydrates with healthier fruits, vegetables, and protein. Support staff have additionally become more fluent when discussing health care concerns with medical professionals. This has resulted in more successful advocacy for people served, the support staff, and their families.  This advocacy has led to obtaining routine screenings that alerts them and their health care providers to risks and treatment options associated with diabetes type 2.

MOKA is proud to report that this grant, through educational efforts and a standardized screen tools, has supported multiple successful conversations with health care providers resulting in improved assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals who are in a prediabetes state as well as those who now have an active diagnosis of diabetes type 2.  This has lessened the gap in health equity for individuals with ID/D.  The most fruitful of which has been a shared understanding of our direct support professional’s skills and commitment to support life style changes to lower the risk of diabetes type 2.  This has resulted in an integrated team approach, which is proven most effective for individuals with complex needs.

We would like to give a huge thank you to The Wege Foundation for their support in this endeavor and the direct support professionals who have continued to make the necessary changes to improve the health of the people we serve.

Want to learn more? Click here to read about the great success Keli, one of the people MOKA serves, has had since becoming part of this initiative!

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