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Diabetes and Me – Part II
Following on from my last blog on Diabetes I’d like to share with you some key information that may help you to better support your service users who have Diabetes.
How can care settings support service users with Diabetes?
Research from Diabetes UK indicates that Diabetes is known to double the risk of admission to a care home and may account for up to one in four service users in a care setting. Residents with Diabetes have an increased risk of disability, pressure sore development, and hospital re-admission.
There is nothing that can be done to prevent Type 1 Diabetes. However, Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and having an active lifestyle.
Care settings should aim to:
- Maintain the highest degree of quality of life and well-being without subjecting service users to unnecessary and inappropriate medical and therapeutic interventions
- Provide sufficient support and opportunity to enable residents to manage their own Diabetes where this is a feasible and worthwhile option
- Ensure that residents with Diabetes have individualised Diabetes care and that follow-up specialist care is easily available depending on clinical need
Healthy Eating: - Provide a well-balanced individualised dietary plan which is compatible with nutritional well-being and maintenance of body weight.
- Grill, poach, steam, or bake food instead of frying
- Introduce foods high in fibre such as whole grain bread and cereals, lentils and beans, vegetables, and fruit
- Choose skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and low-fat yoghurts, this can be instead of cream and full-fat milk
- Choose fish and lean meats instead of fatty meat and processed meat products
- Use low-fat spreads or vegetable oils that are high in unsaturated fat. Avoid the use of products that are high in saturated fat such as butter, ghee, some margarines, or coconut oil
- Choose fruits and vegetables, unsalted nuts, or low-fat yoghurts as snacks instead of cakes, biscuits, or crisps
Physical Activity: - Regular exercise is highly recommended for most of the population. However, in those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes or even at risk of Type 2 Diabetes it will help to improve blood glucose control. Combined with healthy eating and portion size control, it will also help people to lose weight. Below are some things you can support or encourage your service users to do:
- Walk up the stairs if you have any rather than taking the lift
- Walk frequently around the home and outside
- If out on a day trip or a visit then perhaps stop the vehicle short of the destination, get off and walk the rest of the journey
- Involve service users in any regular physical activity or if possible and practical even involve them in some daily chores in the home
- If practical and possible regular swimming or going to the gym is also a good form of exercise
Weight Loss: - Losing weight (if diagnosed as being overweight/obese) will also help to control and prevent Diabetes. Losing weight gradually has many health benefits. Below are some examples of how you can support this:
- Check weight and waist measurements periodically
- Contact your dietitian/pharmacist and seek support and advice on the best way you can support your service users to lose weight
Finally, Diabetes UK has suggested the 15 healthcare essentials as the minimum level of healthcare that everyone with Diabetes deserves and should expect:
- Get your blood glucose levels measured (HbA1c blood test)
- Have your blood pressure measured
- Have your blood fats measured
- Have your eyes screened for signs of retinopathy
- Have your feet and legs checked
- Have your kidney function monitored
- Get ongoing, individual dietary advice
- Get emotional and psychological support
- Be offered a local education course
- See specialist healthcare professionals
- Get a free flu vaccination
- Receive high-quality care if admitted to hospital
- Have the chance to talk about any sexual problems
- If you smoke, get support to quit
- Get information and specialist care if you are planning to have a baby
Different people respond in different ways when newly diagnosed with Diabetes, so it’s important that as carers you respond and look out for signs from your service users that may indicate they need help and even emotional support during this difficult period for them. Similarly, it may be something new for you to deal with. Speak with your care setting manager on what support is out there and speak with the GP(s)/Nurses and Pharmacist assigned to your care setting on any professional support they may be able to offer.
*All information is correct at the time of publishing