Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Friends and Neighbors: Kim Purifoy


Kerry Ferguson for the Western Nebraska Observer

Kim Purifoy explains diabetes and speaks of joining the practice at Kimball Health Services.

Blending medication management and education is just one way that Kim Purifoy is changing diabetes treatment at Kimball Health Services.

A family nurse practitioner from Cheyenne, Kim specializes in diabetes while seeing patients at the local clinic.

"I see all age groups, but over the years I worked with Babson and Associates in Cheyenne on developing a diabetes education and management program within the practice," she said. "I moved out on my own and continued to work with people with diabetes."

Kim believes that education is an important component to diabetes control that is often overlooked and sometimes confusing.

"I try to incorporate education along with the medication management because it has always been two distinct things," she said. "So, do it all for them, because they may show up to get their medication managed, but they may not show up for the education portion."

She advocates getting frequent testing for the disease because often people don't know they are in danger until it is too late to easily control.

It is so much easier to control diabetes now, she said, but doctors often don't have the time to educate them on the importance of controlling the disease.

That is when Kim can step in, she takes the time to explain the importance of diet, exercise and why these things are important.

"Diabetes is not a painful disease, they don't know until something happens," she said. "They go blind in their eye, they suddenly get a wound that won't heal, then they realize they are in trouble, but it is too late. We are working to help them be successful if they want to be."

Currently Kim is not doing any diabetes specialty, but those patients with diabetes are being worked into her current schedule, which includes days spent in the clinics in Kimball and Pine Bluffs, Wyo.

Fast food, decreased activity and other unhealthy lifestyle choices are major contributing factors for diabetes, which is the leading cause of heart disease.

Diabetes, both types, are genetically passed on, according to Kim. Type One diabetes is an auto-immune disease which can happen at any age and Type Two diabetes is passed down genetically as well.

"There are a lot of different pathways, so figuring out what the pathway is helps choose the right medications. Diet does not cure diabetes, but it can play an important role," she said.

She suggests offering more community wide activity opportunities, similar to fun runs, and making wise nutrition choices early to be as healthy as possible. Kim advocates making small changes. She said to eat a cheeseburger if that is what you want, but pass on the triple cheeseburger with bacon.

"Genetics is genetics is genetics. You can't do anything about it if you don't understand what it is. Getting to diabetes patients early on in diagnosis and motivating them to be successful is key to preventing complications in them long-term," she said. "But, as a community, we need to start targeting people younger."

Kim said she is thrilled to be a part of the Kimball Health Services team, offering services in a small, family clinic setting.

"I get to do a little bit of everything. Here we still get the connection with the people we serve. I just want to see people," she said. "I want the more community friendly environment."

She is planning a diabetes specialty clinic twice a month in the future – though there are a large number of people in this area that are diabetic.

Kim suggests that citizens educate themselves before a problem arises, and she cautions to get accurate information, use reliable resources such as the American Diabetes Association.

She urges patients to participate in the KHS sponsored health fairs and see a provider to discuss any unexpected results. There have been huge advances in the past 30 years in the treatment of diabetes – it is very controllable with medication and the information available.


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