Atkinson's Pharmacy | Diabetes in Long-Term Care

Diabetes in Long-Term Care

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s estimated that nearly 30 million Americans live with diabetes, while an additional 86 million people have prediabetes, a condition that often leads to diabetes without significant lifestyle changes. Furthermore, it’s estimated that about a quarter of the total citizens 65 years and older in the U.S. have diabetes, which makes managing the condition in long-term care settings like skilled nursing homes and assisted living centers all the more important. Diabetes in older adults is directly linked to higher mortality rates and reduced function – both cognitively and physically.

The nature of diabetes combined with the high costs of treatment pose challenges to long-term facilities when it comes to treating the disease. Here’s a closer look at how such facilities are managing diabetes.

Treatment Simplification

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends several steps that long-term facilities can take to help patients manage diabetes. These include:

  • Lowering glucose levels in patients via patient-specific, individualized programs.
  • Recommending that patients adopt a stricter diet than the conventional “diabetic diet.”
  • Transition to basal insulin following patient admission, rather than the exclusive use of SSI (sliding scale insulin).
  • Developing facility-specific programs to help patients living with diabetes focusing on more simplified practices.
  • Strongly encourage and develop programs that promote physical activity for patients.
  • Take measures to determine a patient’s hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia risk, which is a particular threat among an aging diabetic population.

Therapeutic Goals

The main goal of treating patients with type II diabetes is keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal levels as possible. Failure to do so can result in a bevy of problems for patients, the direst of which is cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease can lead to severe health issues, such as chest pain, stroke, heart attack, amputation, and, ultimately, death. Additionally, research indicates that better treatment of diabetes can also lead to cognitive benefits for patients, thus allowing them to live a better quality of life for longer.

Any therapeutic goal in a long-term setting should involve taking measures to keep blood sugar levels close to average, and there are various ways that facilities can help patients accomplish this. ADA guidelines suggest the following goals:

  • Glycemic goals should be made on a patient-specific basis but must be wary of any potential complications.
  • Elderly adults that are functional should adhere to the same goals as that of younger diabetic patients.
  • Residents that don’t meet the patient-specific goals when it comes to capillary blood glucose (CBG) testing should be tested at least four times per day. Once goals are consistently met, they can move to a reduced testing frequency.

Diabetes is a serious health issue for people 65 years of age and up, which makes managing the condition in long-term facilities all the more important to ensuring patients experience a positive quality of life. That’s where Atkinson’s Pharmacy comes in, as we have the experience, professionalism, and expertise in providing long-term care facilities with all of their needs. We’ll even customize our services to meet any facilities’ needs, no matter how unique or complex those needs may be. We deliver seven days a week and are always available for consultations. Contact us today to discuss more of your long-term facility’s needs when it comes to diabetic treatment at (904) 264-7578.