New Educational Tool for Providers

potluck_puzzle_Katherine at CT.jpg

Get your patients actively thinking about diabetes self-care; Give them Potluck Puzzles Discussion Books™.

Studies show that adult learners prefer problem solving and active learning. So, as diabetes educators, why do we spend the majority of our counseling sessions lecturing? Lecturing is easier for the provider, and it creates a well controlled environment, safe for the provider. Often patients will just nod in agreement and ask few questions in response to this technique. I have found getting patients actively involved is more fun for me and more motivating for patients.

On a return visit, I ask a patient if they have any questions. Often, they have only one or two quick questions. Then, I present a Potluck Puzzles Discussion Book™. I ask the patient to look at a puzzle and answer the puzzles aloud. Suddenly, the patient is interested and challenged. The patient looks to me to say they are right or for assistance if they are unsure. Going through the puzzle book together helps build confidence for the patient and helps the provider know which topics still need to be covered and reinforced in future visits. I ask the patient to take the Discussion Book™. book home, and bring it back completed for our next visit when we will discuss patient questions and the concepts in more depth.

This technique works well in individual visits, as well as in a group format. I use the books as an activity at the end of a class; patients spend 20 minutes working on the puzzles quietly, then we review the answers aloud as a group and the instructors are able to reinforce any topics which are difficult for the group. Since the Discussion Books™ cover the 10 content areas required by the American Diabetes Association, they provide a well rounded review of instructional material.

Leading a support group can be a challenge and using Potluck Puzzle Discussion Books™ as an ice-breaker is an easy way to get patients thinking about diabetes self-care and the conversation starts to roll!

Would you like to give your patients more of an opportunity to be an active learner? If you are searching for a way to motivate your patients, call 888-545-8113 or order on-line at to get your first order of puzzle books.

Katherine C. Mahon MS, RD, CDE
Outpatient Nutrition Newton Wellesley Hospital
Vice-President Potluck Puzzles, LLC