Diabetes in care homes: current care standards and residents’ experience


Dr Terry Aspray, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 5PL, UK. E-mail: T.J.Aspray@newcastle.ac.uk


Diabet. Med. 29, 132–135 (2012)


Aims  The Diabetes UK good clinical practice guidelines for care home residents were revised in 2010. In this study, we examined current care against these standards and sought the views of residents on their diabetes.

Methods  Mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative), including interviews with residents, carers and staff, participant record reviews and focus group discussions were used to gather data in care homes in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Results  Thirty-one residents from seven care homes participated. Eighty-seven per cent of residents had probable dementia (based on abbreviated mental test score or clock-drawing test). Weight, body mass index and blood pressure were satisfactorily monitored. Glucose monitoring took place in all residents who received insulin, but was monitored unnecessarily in those with diet-controlled diabetes (63%). The majority of residents (90%) had seen a chiropodist and had received eye screening (> 80%) recently. Only one of the care homes had staff that had diabetes training. Residents reported little knowledge of diabetes management. However, when asked what they knew about diabetes, comments included ‘It’s a common thing… like cancer’; ‘[I would have liked a] plain language explanation of diabetes’ and ‘They told me they could control it by diet, and then it was tablets, then insulin. They didn’t explain why.’

Conclusions  In Newcastle upon Tyne care homes there is good care provided but also evidence of inadequacies. Despite high levels of dementia, many patients have strong and valid opinions about their disease and the care they receive. Despite the challenges, we believe that residents must be included in discussions about service development.