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Care homes 'failing on diabetes'

  • 4 Comments

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.

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.

  • 4 Comments

Readers' comments (4)

  • This does not come as a surprise. Having had to search for a care home it is depressing the number that fail on basic minimum standards let alone something as specific as diabetes. Reading the CQC reports for care homes makes very depressing reading. But not as depressing as the day to day distresses of those in care.
    These are money making establishments and the bottom line is profit so care comes very far down the list as very few are able to 'take their business' elsewhere.
    The whole care home business is an indictment on the failure of this country to care for the vulnerable.
    It is shameful.

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  • No establishment should be allowed to carry the title of 'Care Home' without a licence and this should be based on a thorough examination and documentation of all the care they provide which must be open to public scrutiny. Only then can those seeking a care home, or even chosing to work in one, make an informed decision of their choice.

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  • Surely a basic element of their registration would be that all staff working in care homes and caring for vulnerable, frail, elderly people should have passed certain competencies in specific conditions. If staff aren't trained before they start work, then homes should lose their registration. I can well believe this is a true. As a specialist nurse in diabetes, a large proportion of my patients are admitted from care homes with unstable blood glucose levels.

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  • Who cares?

    I cannot imagine providing a service that is so dangerous. It is worse than offering no service at all and something needs to be done about it very rapidly before more lives are damaged. Old people, looked after properly and with the specialised care and respect they deserve could remain healthier for far longer and lead far more meaningful and positive lives. They often have much to offer.

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