For patients referred by their physician, Aspen PCN offers Annual Diabetic Exams which include Diabetic Retinopathy Exams as well as Diabetic Foot Assessments. These are done by specifically trained PCN Nurses.
Diabetic Retinopathy Exams - are performed at the Westlock Health Home for PCN patients referred by their physicians.
Diabetic Retinopthy is a disease of the retina (part of the eye that enables sight) due to Diabetes. Within 10 years of a diabetic diagnosis, 80% of patients will develop the condition. Without proper screening and prevention, Diabetic Retinopathy can lead to blindness.
Preventive screening is done by an Ophthalmologist (a physician that specializes in diseases of the eyes). This includes a retinopathy exam (fundus photography of the retina), a visual acuity check, and an eye pressure test for glaucoma.
Prior to the establishment of the Tele-opthalmology program at the Aspen PCN Health Home in Westlock, patients with Diabetes requiring preventive screening of their retinas had to travel to Edmonton for these services.
The tele-opthalmology program allows a specially trained Aspen PCN nurse to take the photographs and conduct the tests at the Health Home in Westlock. These photographs and test results are then transmitted securely to a team of Opthalmologists at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, who in turn review them, make a diagnosis, and return their results to the Aspen PCN within 24 hours.
Patients and their referring physician are contacted with the results, and are then responsible to book follow-up appointments with their family physician.
It should be noted that within the first 6 months of operation of the tele-opthalmology Healthy Eye Clinic Program in Westlock, out of 39 patients screened, 8 were referred to a retinal specialist for further investigation (20% of the people screened).
Diabetic Foot Assessments - are performed within clinics, as well as at the Health Homes in both Westlock and Athabasca.
A potential complication from Diabetes is a condition known as peripheral neuropathy - nerve damage that occurs over time in the hands and feet as a result of uncontrolled blood glucose levels.
An important element of Diabetes care is the yearly foot exam; our clinicians will examine your feet to look for signs of nerve damage. The exam itself is quick and painless.
For more information on Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, please visit www.diabetes.ca.
This program includes basic nail care, callus and corn removal, and diabetic foot care. All foot care is done by a Certified Foot Care Nurse.
Healthy Foot Clinic services are available at: