Type 1 Diabetes patient Ryan Finocchio with Dr Tom Dover and Nurse Navigator Kay Dean.
Type 1 Diabetes patient Ryan Finocchio with Dr Tom Dover and Nurse Navigator Kay Dean.

New diabetes clinic opens in Ipswich

A NEW clinic providing specialist support for people with Type 1 Diabetes has launched in Ipswich this month.

Riverview resident Ryan Finocchio was among the first to attend the new West Moreton Hospital and Health clinic, launched to ensure people with Type 1 Diabetes could access expert care closer to home.

Mr Finocchio was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes three years ago following the onset of common symptoms including blurred vision, weight loss and mood swings.

The 30-year-old is a diesel mechanic and professional motorbike rider and he said coming to terms with his diagnosis and its impact was a frustrating and challenging time.

"It makes you feel pretty uncomfortable when you're by your tool box and you have to give yourself an injection and as you can probably imagine the bathroom in a diesel mechanic's workshop is not the most hygienic place," Mr Finocchio said.

"My fingertips became so bruised (from finger pricks to test glucose) that I started to lose dexterity in my fingers which was extremely difficult when you're a diesel mechanic.''

He said moving to an insulin pump, which was designed to monitor and automatically deliver insulin via a cannula without the need for routine finger pricks, had dramatically changed his life for the better. He credited the support of Dr Dover and West Moreton Health's Nurse Navigator Kay Dean for his renewed confidence.

"I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to live a better life. It was very fortunate that I met Tom and Kay who really want to help people who want to them themselves.''

He said there would be huge value in receiving care at an Ipswich clinic dedicated to people with Type 1 Diabetes.

"When you are 30 years old and trying really hard to manage Type 1 Diabetes it can sometimes be a pretty lonely experience when you are here receiving care alongside people with Type 2 Diabetes,'' Mr Finocchio said.

Endocrinologist Dr Tom Dover said Type 1 Diabetes patients previously attended clinics where Type 1 Diabetes patients were mixed with those with Type 2 Diabetes and would normally require a referral to meet with specialists such as psychologist or a dietitian.

He said the Type 1 Diabetes Clinic would provide a one-stop-shop where people could access specialist information from a doctor, dietitian, pharmacist, psychologist as well as nurse educators and a nurse navigator.

"In Australia, about 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2 Diabetes, commonly referred to as a lifestyle disease because the risk of developing it is greatly increased by modifiable lifestyle factors such as poor diet, high blood pressure and insufficient physical activity,'' Dr Dover said.

"Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune condition and there is no cure. It is much more difficult to manage and we felt it was really important to offer people with Type 1 Diabetes more targeted, specialised care."

He said technology in diabetes care was changing rapidly and it was important for West Moreton Health to share improvements with community members living with Type 1 Diabetes.

Nurse Navigator Kay Dean said there was an estimated 1300 people in West Moreton with Type 1 Diabetes and the new monthly clinic was expected to provide support for more people in the region.

"They will benefit from having ready access to medical and allied health professionals who can work one-on-one with patients to improve education and disease self-management and reduce the likelihood that people would need to go to hospital," Ms Dean said.

"For some people the launch of the clinic will mean they no longer have to travel to Brisbane for treatment and will be able to receive best practice care closer to home.''

For more information contact the Ipswich Diabetes Service on 3813 6150.

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