Nutrition Therapy Manages Diabetes through Healthy Choices

Dietitians Andrea Svartsrom and Julia Rinehart are providing free, in-home medical nutrition therapy for people with diabetes or non-dialysis kidney disease through Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES).

A free, in-home medical nutrition therapy program that helps people with diabetes or non-dialysis kidney disease is now being offered through Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES).

Available at no cost for Cambridge, Medford, and Somerville residents with Medicare Part B coverage and certain diagnoses, the nutrition therapy program provides a personalized plan for managing health and ongoing professional support, explained SCES Registered Dietitian Julia Rinehart.

“There are many benefits to working with a dietitian,” said Rinehart. “First and foremost, we can really help manage somebody’s disease; working together, we can create a plan that’s individualized and is going to have an impact on the medical condition they’re dealing with.”

“We can also provide recent and reliable health information,” continued Rinehart. “It’s amazing how much information is out there that’s not necessarily up-to-date or reliable.”

Studies of medical nutrition therapy have shown it can help improve food choices, lessen symptoms, and reduce reliance on medications and healthcare costs.

“Research has shown that the impact on blood sugar is in line with the main medication that is used to treat diabetes– it’s incredibly effective,” said Rinehart. “We can also help delay or prevent the initiation of dialysis.”

The program starts with an hour-long consultation, where the dietitian meets with the participant in their home to discuss needs and to outline goals for moving forward. Rinehart described it as in-depth process, where the dietitians work with primary care doctors to support participants. She added that follow-up visits from the dietitian are a key part of the program.

“During those follow ups we can address barriers to change that come up and work with the client to strengthen their motivation to make those behavioral and lifestyle changes and improve their quality of life,” said Rinehart.

Medical Nutrition Therapy is available at no cost to people with Medicare Part B and a diagnosis of diabetes, non-dialysis kidney disease, or people who have had a kidney transplant in the last 36 months.

For more information about Medical Nutrition Therapy, contact the SCES Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 or email dietitian@eldercare.org.

Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is a non-profit agency that supports the independence and well-being of older people in Somerville and Cambridge. For more information, visit eldercare.org, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or contact the SCES Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 for free advice and guidance.