The Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex—Coming Soon!
Baseball season is back! The opening day for The Children’s National Diabetes team in the brand new Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex (WNDCC) will be late summer/early fall 2013. Construction is occurring at a rapid pace for our complex to be ready for a ribbon cutting ceremony in June. Our vision is to offer family-centered care within a facility that cares for children with diabetes and other related conditions such as obesity, celiac disease, Cystic Fibrosis related diabetes, endocrine disorders (thyroid, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Addison’s Disease, etc.), lipid disorders, and diabetes related nephrology. Our psychologist also is interested in developing a transition clinic for our adolescents and young adults that will be moving on to adult endocrinology for care. A multifunctional exam room will enable our ophthalmologist to provide routine follow-up retinal exams as required for our children with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation provided a $2 million donation to secure the construction and naming of the future WNDCC. Along with donations from more than 600 individuals and organizations, our new diabetes complex will be located on the first floor of Children’s National Medical Center. It will have an education center, clinical center, and demonstration labs, along with a reception area/family resource center and telemedicine conferencing.
All teaching of concepts classes, pump, and CGM starts/follow-up, as well as all other diabetes/endocrine outpatient teaching, will be conducted in either the small or large classrooms in the complex. Hospitalized children with new onset diabetes who are not receiving IV fluids will be taught with their families in the new classrooms. The WNDCC will serve as the outpatient clinical site for children with diabetes. Our telemedicine conferencing center will enable us to see patients at great distances remotely.
Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of our new complex is the demonstration labs. With the support of the Black Family Restaurant group based on Bethesda, Md., we were able to construct a functioning demonstration kitchen and classroom. Our outpatient dieticians will use the kitchen as their “live” classroom to teach the concepts of healthy eating and carbohydrate counting with real food that will be tailored to the specific clinical entity. The kitchen will be set up so that children and families can observe the dietician/chef prepare meals/snacks and teach while actually “doing.” We are hoping to invite guest chefs to demonstrate low carbohydrate cooking, gluten free desserts, etc.
Our other demonstration laboratory will be an exercise room fitted with various pieces of equipment including a treadmill and recumbent bike. Yoga mats will be available. We are hoping to provide expert guidance towards exercise, another component to management of diabetes and related metabolic disorders. A laboratory will be within our complex to perform hb A1c tests and obtain blood work. As part of the clinical section of the complex, a room will be designated for counseling equipped with comfortable chairs/tables and toys in a relaxed environment.
Our goal is to provide a one-stop approach to diabetes care. In an effort to provide a once yearly comprehensive evaluation of all our patients by a diabetes nurse educator, dietician, psychologist, and physician, we are planning to develop a Joslin-model type visit recommended for all patients.
Now that Knickers has been accepted as a member of Therapy Dogs, Inc. and is pending approval by Children’s, I hope that he will become the canine member of our Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes team at the new WNDCC.