Monday, November 15, 1999 Published at 00:16 GMT
Diabetics 'neglected' in care homes
Elderly diabetics are suffering through lack of care, says a report
Elderly diabetics in residential care homes are being put at risk by a lack of proper care, according to a survey.
In a report published on World Diabetes Day, the British Diabetic Association (BDA) says there is a lack of help for diabetics in residential homes, together with poor dietary guidance and insufficient assistance from doctors.
The report says many GPs are not providing enough help, despite having taken responsibility for them.
A large proportion of residential home staff have no experience of managing the condition and there is a shortage of diabetes training for care assistants, says the BDA.
Paul Streets, chief executive of the BDA, said: "The alarming news is that this is not an isolated problem.
"Our careline receives calls from families across the UK concerned that an elderly relative's health may deteriorate because they are not receiving proper diabetes care.
'No glucose checks'
"Many elderly residents with diabetes have no one responsible for checking the level of glucose in their blood, no one making sure they are eating a proper diet and no one organising regular reviews to detect the early signs of devastating conditions like blindness, heat disease, stroke and kidney failure."
Poorly-controlled type II diabetes can lead to the onset of severely disabling complications, including irreversible damage to eyes and the blood supply to the limbs.
The government is currently examining standards of care in residential homes, but their proposed changes do not specifically tackle the way individual conditions like diabetes are managed.
The BDA is calling for national standards of diabetes care in residential homes. Its recommendations include:
"We know that some homes are already taking our recommendations on board, but this has to be a national initiative if residents in care homes across the UK and their families are to feel confident in the way their diabetes is treated."