Keeping diabetic foot care available
Carlo Rossini Memorial Diabetes Foundation donates $10,000 to help expand foot care at Active Lifestyle Centre
Diabetic seniors on low or fixed incomes were facing a challenge accessing affordable and important foot care with the closure of a home care nursing service in Chatham.
But the situation has improved thanks to a collaboration between the Carlo Rossini Memorial Diabetes Foundation and Active Lifestyle Centre (ALC) in Chatham.
The ALC, which already provides weekly general foot clinics that serve approximately 2,000 people a year, was willing to add diabetic foot clinics in the rotation every other month, but didn’t have the specialized equipment.
The foundation has stepped up with a $10,000 donation to help ALC be able to offer this extra service.
“I’m thrilled,” said Jean Rossini, president of the Carlo Rossini Memorial Diabetes Foundation, that the ALC has agreed to provide this service.
Linda Lucas, AL C executive director, said ,“we could not have done this without (this) donation.”
She added Rossini helps people through the foundation in others ways, such as helping low-income residents get proper orthopedic shoes and providing several free pairs of diabetic socks.
Lucas also credits the ALC board of directors for agreeing to expand the foot care clinics.
She said the weekly and diabetic foot clinics are very reasonably priced at $10-$15. However, those who want to access the diabetic foot clinics must be referred through the Diabetic Education Centre at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, she added.
Rossini said the Canadian Diabetes Association closed its Chatham branch in late 2012, so now the foundation is the only charity in Chatham-Kent focused on people with diabetes.
“The importance of foot clinics are huge if you have diabetes, especially if you have financial issues,” she said.
Rossini said many people with diabetes can’t feel their feet, so they often don’t know if they have a sore until they see blood on their stocking or sock.
When it gets to this point, the person often ends up at the hospital emergency room, she said, adding they may need to be admitted or have surgery or even an amputation.
Noting the foundation focuses on prevention, Rossini said one amputation costs the health system $70,000 so “even if we prevented on amputation (the savings) could pay for foot clinics throughout Chatham-Kent.”
Rossini said there is a service gap in the healthcare system, and has long questioned why diabetic foot care is not part of the universal healthcare system.
“It’s a frustration, because you think, ‘This should be a permanent part of the community,’” she said.
However, Rossini said, “we’re determined to keep those foot clinics going,” adding there is a “tsunami if baby boomers” who are getting older with many having diabetes and living on fixed incomes.
Linda Lucas, executive director of the Active Lifestyle Centre in Chatham, left, is pictured with Jean Rossini with the Carlo Rossini Memorial Diabetes Foundation in the footcare room at the Active Lifestyle Centre on Tuesday. The centre has received a $10,000 donation from the foundation to ensure diabetic footsore is available for low and fixed income seniors in the community.