• diabetes;
  • disabilities;
  • nursing homes;
  • nursing need;
  • quality of life

Diabet. Med. 28, 778–780 (2011)


Aims  To describe the degree of disability and nursing need of people living with diabetes resident in nursing homes in one Primary Care Trust in the UK.

Methods  A retrospective case notes review of 75 people with known diabetes who were resident in the 11 nursing homes in Coventry Teaching Primary Care Trust.

Results  Very significant levels of disability and nursing need were documented in areas of continence, feeding, mobility and communication. Each individual had a mean of four co-morbidities (range 1–8), excluding diabetes. Using the definition of terminal illness based on a negative answer to the question ‘would I be surprised if my patient were to die in the next 12 months’ it is likely that the majority of individuals described in this study would be classified as being terminally ill.

Conclusion  Using four practical clinical measures, this study has shown very significant levels of disability and nursing care need in this population of mainly elderly people resident in nursing homes in Coventry. In addition, it has demonstrated that a large proportion of nursing home residents with diabetes can be considered to be in the terminal phase of life, a period where many other factors interplay in how care should be delivered and what outcomes are appropriate. In fact, residents in this category may well be candidates for a considered withdrawal of treatments, but not of care.