Nursing Homes Need Better Diabetes Care

Study urges new protocols for monitoring patients' blood sugar, cardio risk factors

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FRIDAY, May 25, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment of elderly patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in U.S. nursing homes often fails to meet American Diabetes Association standards, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine studied the quality of care received over a year by 108 diabetic residents living in 11 nursing homes in Ohio and West Virginia.

They found that only 38 percent of patients met blood glucose [sugar] goals, only 55 percent had satisfactory blood pressure levels, and only 31 percent had lipids (serum total cholesterol) checks yearly. Of those who had regular lipids checks, only 58 percent had acceptable levels.

The study authors noted that these three areas -- hypertension control, blood sugar and cardiovascular risk factors (such as cholesterol) -- have a major effect on the life expectancy of people with diabetes.

The findings, published Friday in the journal Diabetes Care, revealed that the nursing homes in the study lacked a systematic approach to diabetes care and that treatment guidelines for diabetic nursing home residents must be developed in order to provide optimal care.

The researchers are currently developing treatment protocols for diabetic patients in nursing homes. They plan to offer these protocols to the medical directors of those nursing homes included in the study.

A follow-up study will examine the effectiveness of these treatment protocols.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about diabetes care in older people.

SOURCE: Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, news release, May 25, 2007


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