After experiencing weight loss, getting headaches and feeling unwell, sixth-grader Sheaffer Skadsen was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. The pre-teen took the news in stride, said Sara Bell, MD, a Kaiser Permanente pediatrician in Vancouver, Washington. Sheaffer’s diabetes is “like breathing,” said Dr. Bell. “She knows what to do.” A Kaiser Permanente team comprised of Dr. Bell, a registered nurse and dietician — both certified diabetes educators — and a social worker helped Sheaffer learn to manage the disease. “They have been with me literally every step of the way,” said Skadsen, now college age, who will attend the University of Arizona on a soccer scholarship starting this fall.
While Sheaffer prepares for school, her Kaiser Permanente care team has focused on ensuring that she will stay healthy for this next chapter of her life. An electronic insulin pump enables Sheaffer to download information about her glucose levels and transmit it to Dr. Bell for monitoring. Said Skadsen: “I can’t imagine what my experience would be like with diabetes if I didn’t have my Kaiser care team.”