Diabetes is much more common in the elderly than in the general population. In the United States, about 9.1% of the entire population has diabetes. However, those aged 65 and older are about 2.5 times more likely than the general population to have diabetes. About 22% of residents in the United States are diabetic.
Diabetes requires close, careful monitoring. Proper diabetes care includes:
- Making sure the resident is getting a proper diabetic diet
- Frequently testing blood sugar levels
- Giving emergency medications for very high or low blood sugar levels
- Giving daily medications for long-term diabetes control
- Providing excellent hygiene and personal care
- Providing excellent wound care
Wound care, especially in the feet and legs, is very important for diabetics. Diabetes can interfere with the healing process, and if wounds are not treated properly, they can lead to life-threatening infections. It is crucial that resident diabetics have regular foot examinations, and receive proper wound care to prevent infection and amputation.
Nursing home staff must be properly trained to care for diabetic patients. Nursing homes must also have sufficient staff to provide the care their patients need. Medication errors, overlooked symptoms, or negligence can leave a nursing home liable if an resident suffers harm as a result.
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“Percentage of Adults with Diagnosed Diabetes by Age Group.” 2016. Kaiser Family Foundation. Available at http://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/adults-with-diabetes-by-age/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D
Southeastern Florida Regional Diabetes Program. “Care of Older People with Diabetes.” Diabetes Research Institute. University of Miami. Available at http://www.diabetesresearch.org/document.doc?id=258