Diabetes management of older adults in nursing homes: A retrospective study

Mateja Lorber, Sergej Kmetec, Nataša Mlinar Reljić, Zvonka Fekonja
Journal of Nursing Management 2021 January 22

AIM: To examine the diabetes management of older adults in nursing homes.

BACKGROUND: Diabetes is an increasing problem in nursing homes and diabetes care is defined as a neglected clinical area.

METHODS: A retrospective collected data review of 166 older adults with known diabetes from four nursing homes.

RESULTS: 65% older than 75 years had HbA1c levels lower than 7.5% (58 mmol/mol), 74% older than 85 years had HbA1c levels lower than 8% (64 mmol/mol). The HbA1c levels were 7.3% (56 mmol/mol) for those who had three and more chronic disorders and 6.8% (51 mmol/mol) for those who had less than three chronic disorders. Individuals treated with insulin had higher HbA1c levels (p < 0.001) and glycaemia (p = 0.002). Age was associated with a number of chronic disorders (p = 0.031), a number of regularly prescribed medications (p = 0.038) and a number of medications as needed (p = 0.009).

CONCLUSIONS: More than half to three quarters have diabetes well-managed. Nevertheless, there is still some potential for improving diabetes care, and these findings warrant further research for improving diabetes management of older adults in nursing homes.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT: Interventions designed to promote a healthy lifestyle, documenting individuals' target level and regular monitoring of glycaemia and HbA1c levels may help to improve diabetes management, which may result in better well-being and quality of life for older adults with diabetes in nursing homes.

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