If you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes, you will first want to find a meter you like and that works best for you. If you have already tried or used a diabetes meter, you may have a preference. If not, the number of times a day you test your blood glucose, problems with your hands and fingers and whether you travel will influence the type of meter you select. In most Safeway pharmacies, a DMT can teach you all about diabetes blood glucose meters and help you choose one that suits your needs and lifestyle.
After you have chosen a meter to suit your personal needs, the DMT will use a demonstration meter to show you how to use it from start to finish. First, you can watch a test done with control solution (glucose solution). You then complete a similar test using the control solution to become comfortable with the process. If you purchase a meter, the DMT can guide you through a test using your own machine.
Lancets (or ‘pokers’) and the lancing device are a very important part of your meter. At the pharmacy, you can learn how to use a lancing device properly and how to retrieve test results from the meter's memory. Knowing the right way to position a lancet device in the target areas can help. It is also important to change the lancet each time, since it will cause unnecessary pain if used more than once.
If your meter isn’t working properly, the DMT can help figure out the problem. Testing the machine with control solution helps ensure everything is working properly and that you are using it correctly. Wrong test strip codes, expired strips, code errors, dead batteries and broken lancing devices can all cause errors. DMTs will do their best to solve the problem but, if all else fails, the meter will be replaced. You will want to update your meter every two years to make the best use of new products and technology. Most Safeway stores hold a meter tune-up day two or three times a year. That’s a good way to prevent problems.
Once a year, you should compare your lab test results with a meter reading. The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends an annual comparison, with both test results falling within 20 per cent of each other. To do a comparison, the meter test must be done within five minutes of the lab technician drawing blood from your arm. Ask for a detailed guide from your Safeway Pharmacy.
Many other resources to help with diabetes can be found through your pharmacy. Inquire whether there is a certified diabetes educator pharmacist in your area. These educators help not only with meter use, but teach about diabetes management, medication and lifestyle. As well, a Safeway Health Care Consultant can provide one-on-one teaching and help you access resources in your community. Many informative pamphlets and charts are also available.
A DMT can help you find any supplies you need for your insulin pump. While only a medical professional can instruct you in the use of your insulin pump, a DMT can supply information and help you access any resources you need to run your pump properly. As well, certain meters are more commonly used with insulin pumps.
If you take medication for your diabetes, when you bring in your prescription the DMT compares it against the file of what you have previously taken. The check is to see if you have taken the medication before, and whether there are changes in dosage or frequency. If so, the pharmacist will speak to you.
You may also be asked about how your meter is working and whether you need more diabetic supplies. Keeping a list of prescription numbers for your supplies allows you to call ahead to the pharmacy and avoid a wait. Prescription numbers also ensure that you receive the right supplies.
Pharmacy technicians help a pharmacy run smoothly, while DMTs offer another layer of support in your diabetes care. Take advantage of the personalized service these specially trained team members can offer.