Published on 3 October 2018

High numbers of older people with type 2 diabetes leading to concerns care staff not equipped to help manage the condition.

Diabetes services for older people are “too fragmented” leaving them “vulnerable to poor health” in the later stages of their lives – according to a leading diabetes professor.

Professor Alan Sinclair, of the Foundation for Diabetes Research in Older People and Diabetes Frail, is a recognised specialist in the field of diabetes among older people.

Professor Sinclair spoke out following a recent investigation into diabetes services carried out in care home settings, highlighting that people with type 2 diabetes need more attention paid to help in their management of the condition.

Professor Sinclair said: “Our review of research findings are quite worrying because we’ve found the level of diabetes care remains fragmented, which means many older people are becoming far more vulnerable to poor health than they should be.

“We believe more than a quarter of care home residents have type 2 diabetes, and it’s imperative those with the condition – at whatever age or domicile – carry out proper management. If the patient fails to control their diabetes, it can lead to frailty, dependency, disability and reduced life expectancy.

“There is also the added strain on the NHS as frequent hospital admissions to treat diabetes-related complications are costly, not to mention unsettling for the patient and family.”

Professor Sinclair, who has provided advice to NICE, Diabetes UK, ABCD, the Joint British Diabetes Societies, Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the UK Government Department of Health on matters relating to diabetes in older people, is speaking ahead

At this year’s Diabetes Professional Care conference Professor Sinclair will discuss the benefits of individualising diabetes care for older people.

Professor Sinclair added: “High-quality individualised care for older people with diabetes would be hugely beneficial. Multiple comorbidities associated with ageing, combined with the increased prevalence of geriatric syndromes and frailty, contribute to the complexity of managing diabetes in older people. 

“If healthcare professionals and care home teams recognise these unique challenges then we can begin finding solutions, addressing the declining diabetes health of this vulnerable sector of people who deserve the best possible level of care.”

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