Wednesday December 20, 2017
A sweeter experience for patients with diabetes
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Diabetes nurse Miranda Walker and the team test a patient’s blood glucose levels at Wellington Regional Hospital. PHOTO: Supplied
New processes and guidelines mean patients with diabetes will recover faster from surgery and spend less time in hospital. The changes have been implemented through the DHB-wide ‘Sweet As’ campaign to improve management of patients’ diabetes while they’re in hospital. “Around 15 to 20 percent of inpatients – patients who stay overnight – have diabetes. That’s 120 patients with diabetes in our hospitals at any one time,” diabetes nurse Miranda Walker says.
“A key part of managing patients’ diabetes is ensuring they don’t develop hyper or hypoglycaemia – where blood glucose levels become too high or low. That can be difficult when a patient needs to fast before a surgery or a procedure.” That’s why insulin management for fasting patients is being improved, along with clearer guidance around hyper and hypoglycaemia. “We used to wait until a patient’s blood glucose dropped below four millimoles of glucose per litre of
blood before acting. Now we act if it drops below six. “We also have more consistent guidelines for treating high blood glucose – which can lead to slower recovery, infections, and longer hospital stays,” Miranda explains. “These changes are expected to help keep patients’ blood glucose at levels that encourage wound healing – meaning they will recover faster from surgery, leave hospital sooner, and have a far better experience and outcome overall.”
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Independent Herald 20-12-17