People with diabetes sometimes may suffer from problems that require hospital care. Largely for economic reasons, hospitals tend to discharge patients as quickly as possible, even if the person still requires professional health care.
Home Care agencies employ nurses who help you make the transition from the hospital back to the home environment. These nurses not only carry out skilled procedures, but they coordinate the care you receive from your regular diabetes healthcare team, family members, and other caregivers. A great many people with diabetes use home care services. In fact, people with diabetes are among those who need and use home care most often, second only to people with congestive heart failure. In order to create a care plan specific to your needs, the home care nurse looks at your entire spectrum of needs, from medications, medical equipment, and required therapy to possible changes in living arrangements. Several considerations are particularly important for improving diabetes care and enhancing your ability to take care of yourself following hospitalization.
Multiple Medications. The home care nurse can review and organize all your medications. You may have been prescribed different drugs from a variety of healthcare professionals, who may not be in communication with one another, and these drugs may be unsafe in combination. The nurse can help you sort out all your medications, perhaps with the aide of a 7-day pillbox. You may also be advised about possible ways to reduce your drug costs.
Medical nutrition therapy. Many home care clients with diabetes could benefit from an evaluation by a registered dietitian. Sharing information with a dietitian will help you to make sure that you're not jeopardizing your glucose control with poor food choices. The home care nurse can see to it that you receive such an evaluation if need be.
Poor Eyesight. Visual impairment is common among people with diabetes. The home care nurse will help you overcome difficulties caused by vision problems. For example, the nurse can assist you in avoiding medication errors and in taking measures to prevent falls that result from tripping over objects not readily seen.
Nerve disease. Some 60% to 70% of people with type 1 or 2 diabetes are affected by diabetic neuropathy (nerve disease). Neuropathy can cause pain or numbness in the legs and feet. Numbness, in particular, can increase the risk of falling and of developing foot ulcers. The home care nurse will show you how to avoid falls and, if your confined to bed, will take special care to protect you from developing pressure ulcers that could lead to infection or even amputation.