According to a study by BMC Nursing, about 18% of nursing home residents suffer from diabetes. Seniors with diabetes are at increased risks for a host of other health issues, including Alzheimer’s, depression, cardiovascular disease, strokes and more. While healthcare plans must be tailored to each patient, there are general guidelines that should be followed for all diabetes patients:
Monitoring Blood Sugar
Patients must be checked regularly to ensure that their blood sugar stays at a normal level. Monitoring of blood sugar is done with a glucose meter. For patients with type 1 diabetes, tests are typically done 4-10 times a day, while with type 2 they are usually done between meals and before bed.
Insulin and other Diabetic Medications
If the patient has been prescribed insulin or other diabetic medications, it is extremely important that they be administered correctly in order to keep blood sugar levels normal. Incorrect medication can have severe effects.
Insulin injections must be given before food to avoid spikes or drops in sugar levels as a result of eating. Bloodborne viruses such as Hepatitis B can be spread if needles are used by more than one person, so it’s crucial to throw away needles after use, so they aren’t accidentally used for another patient.
Diabetic patients should be served meals that are low in fat, carbohydrates and cholesterol. The amount they eat must be monitored as well to ensure that they stay at a healthy body weight.
Checking Patients’ Feet
Diabetics are at increased risk for numbness, nerve damage and bedsores on their feet, so feet must be checked daily for redness or other injuries.
Low blood sugar affects balance, making diabetics more vulnerable to falls. Balance training and a steady helping hand will help prevent falls in elderly patients.
Proper diabetes management can have a positive effect on both quality of life and longevity. A combination of medication, nutrition and monitoring will keep the diabetes under control and allow the patient to keep their blood sugars at a normal level.