Care homes are failing to screen people for diabetes and are not training their staff to manage the condition, which has led to an average of one resident having to be admitted to hospital every 25 minutes, according to a charity’s report.
The study, Diabetes In Care Homes: awareness, screening, training, reveals that six in 10 care homes in England looking after people with the condition provide no diabetes training whatsoever.
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Only around one in four homes (23%) screens residents for diabetes as they arrive and only around three in 10 (28%) carry out annual diabetes screening.
The report says this lack of care means up to 13,500 care home residents will be at higher risk of suffering heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation because their type 2 diabetes remains undiagnosed.
Diabetes UK chief executive Barbara Young said: “These report findings are an indictment of the standards of diabetes care provided by a worrying number of our country’s care homes.
“Even the most basic training and awareness can have a huge impact on improving the quality of life for thousands of society’s most vulnerable people by preventing the complications of diabetes as well as reducing costs to the NHS.”
Basic training for care home staff should include how to identify symptoms, recognise and treat hypoglycaemia, measure and monitor blood glucose levels, administer insulin safely and understand the importance of dietary timings and requirements, as well as regular physical activity.
Diabetes UK is calling for care homes to implement the recommendations in its guidance document Good Clinical Practice Guidelines for Care Home Residents with Diabetes.
This includes screening new residents for diabetes on admission and all residents at two yearly intervals, for all people with diabetes in care homes to have an individualised care plan tailored to their needs and for all care home managers to put in place appropriate diabetes-specific training for all staff.
The charity also wants the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to make diabetes training part of any care home’s registration requirements and for every local commissioner of services to make an assessment of their local population’s needs with regards to effective diabetes management in care homes.