…Speak UP About Diabetes

If you’re a patient with diabetes, you are accustomed to managing diabetes and maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels on a daily basis.  Many people with diabetes have mastered the principles of glucose management and successfully put them into practice every day.

When you’re receiving medical care, don’t let this positive attitude stop at the hospital door. Visiting a hospital using advanced glycemic control management tools, such as EndoTool, will provide a greater level of confidence and safety. However, familiarity with diabetes can vary widely, so it is best to be prepared with feedback and instruction for your caregivers.

The Joint Commission recommends that anyone with diabetes should keep these five guidelines in mind when receiving hospital care:

Stay on top of your inpatient glycemic health.  Always wear your diabetes ID, and make sure all caregivers are aware of your condition. Understand how often your glucose levels will be checked. Understand any changes that will be made to your diabetes care regime. Alert nurses to any symptoms consistent with hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.

Master your inpatient medications.  Know exactly what new medications you will receive while hospitalized, their potential impact on blood sugar levels, and how this will be addressed.  Pay particular attention to anesthesia drugs. If you receive insulin in the hospital, understand why, when and in what form.  Make sure any rapid acting insulin dosing accompanies a meal.  If you experience nausea or vomiting as a result of your illness, notify your caregiver.

Understand how your treatment will affect your diet.  Inquire whether your hospital meals will support your target glucose range and how to alert staff if your diabetes medication or food is delayed. Know how glucose levels will be managed if you are unable to eat and when you will resume normal meal schedules.

Manage your infection risk.  Diabetes is a risk factor for infection. Therefore, wash your hands frequently and make sure caregivers do the same or wear clean gloves. Alert nursing staff to any cuts or sores that do not heal. Avoid all sick visitors until you are recovered.

Plan your transition to an outpatient environment.  Find out what to expect with regard to blood sugar levels as you recover, what may signal danger, and when to call a doctor.  If you are being prescribed insulin for the first time following hospitalization, make sure you understand dosing procedures.  Be sure to ask when you can resume your normal diet, medications, and exercise.