Last updated: 17.06.14

Care home staff struggling with lack of diabetes training

A lack of effective diabetes training for care home staff is putting residents at risk and leaving a large number of residents undiagnosed, according to a new audit by the Institute for Diabetes for Older People (IDOP) and the University of Bedfordshire.

The nationwide study, which is the first of its kind to cover the whole of England, called for every care home in the country to screen all residents for diabetes.

In order to carry this out, the Care Home Diabetes Audit laid out a wide-ranging package of proposals including diabetes education and training for all care home workers. Among the other suggestions were that patients who self-medicate should be monitored and their ability to do so regularly assessed; while better communication channels should also be established between care homes and primary healthcare trusts.

All care homes should be made aware of guidelines for good clinical practice concerning care home residents with diabetes, while care homes should also screen for the metabolic disease at admission, then at regular intervals thereafter, according to the proposals laid out by the report.

It suggested that care homes should all run a diabetes food evaluation scheme, which is a good way of estimating risks of associate conditions, while they should also ensure they are fully stocked with hypoglycaemia kits.

"We appreciate the strain placed on care home staff but the results of the audit demonstrated major concerns which need urgent attention," said professor Alan Sinclair, leader of the audit and director of the IDOP. 

"The results found one in ten care home residents were reported as having diabetes, although this figure is at odds with previous research that showed as many as 26 per cent of all care home residents actually have diabetes."

For care homes that need to train their staff in diabetes management, Virtual College has developed a series of online courses in partnership with NHS England for the National Patient Safety Training Suite. 

These include The Safe Use of Insulin, The Safe Use of Intravenous Insulin Infusions, The Safe Use of Non-Insulin Therapies for Diabetes, the Safe Use of Pen Devices and the basic awareness training for professionals caring for children and young people with the condition. For course details, check here: