All high risk diabetes patients who are admitted to Pinderfields Hospital, will now be treated on Gate 32 where specialist diabetes nurses will be able to administer insulin, ensure meals are being eaten at the correct times and carry out foot checks amongst other essential duties.
People living with diabetes may have to deal with a number of complications as a result of their condition. These can have an impact on different parts of the body including: eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves and feet. For example, if foot problems are left untreated, they can cause foot ulcers and infections and, at worst, may lead to amputations. Keeping blood glucose, blood pressure and blood fat levels under control will greatly help to reduce the risk of developing complications.
Dr Carol Amery, Head of Clinical Service for Diabetes and Endocrinology at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, had the idea to set up the ward, she said: “Every year there is a National Diabetes Inpatient Audit (NaDIA), which collects a wide range of information about patient harms during an inpatient stay as well as their opinions on how well their diabetes was managed.
“The report showed that poor levels of foot care and medication errors were a national problem and we wanted to do what we could at Mid Yorks to address these issues at a local level.”
On the 23 bed ward weekly foot rounds take place with a vascular surgeon, vascular nurses and diabetologist. The Trust has also recently secured a bid to recruit a foot care practitioner to the ward who will carry out regular foot checks as well as coordinating the care of in and out patients.
The specialist diabetes nurses on the ward are providing specialist training to the ward nurses in how to look after these high risk patients so they have the confidence to administer insulin as need.
Emily Watts, Programme Manager for Inpatient Care at Diabetes UK, visited the ward and was very impressed. “People with diabetes have complex needs and sometimes find it difficult to manage their condition,” she said.
“Having access to specialist support and a consistent team is a huge step forward for people experiencing diabetes-related complications. Ensuring that meals are timed correctly, that medication is given when needed and also having the confidence amongst the nursing team to encourage people, when appropriate, to self-administer their medication are all hugely important.
“Managing these factors correctly helps to improve the experience patients have and in many cases can help to reduce the length of their stay. It’s great to see the team here at Mid Yorks doing what it can to address national problems.”
The data for the next NaDIA report will be collected in September this year and Dr Amery and her team are hoping that the improvements they are making will help to make a difference.