How do I deal with a diabetic patient?

A diabetic patient can be difficult to handle, especially if the patient has been recently diagnosed. Treating diabetes requires careful monitoring of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Newly diagnosed diabetic patients may also have to abruptly change their diet, get more exercise and take insulin. As a caregiver, you’ll probably not only treat the patient but also serve as a "Diabetes 101" educator.

1. Teach the patient to administer her own insulin. She can also be taught to administer her own glucose test with a glucose meter. The patient may not always be under your supervision. It’s good to help her become self-sufficient.

2. Help the patient plan meals. She may have trouble adapting to her new dietary needs.

3. Outline the recommended exercise regimen for diabetics and give them the encouragement and push that they need to follow through. Undertaking a new exercise program is hard for most people, but a diabetic patient’s life may depend on it.

4. Make sure the patient follows every step to manage her diabetes. If you see the patient snacking or slacking, call her on it. You don’t have to be a strict disciplinarian, but you can interrupt bad habits and give the patient positive reinforcement when she does well.

Be there for your patient. Being diagnosed with diabetes is rough for anyone. Be empathetic toward the patient.

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One Response to How do I deal with a diabetic patient?

  1. Granny Rene, RN x 35 yrs

    Most of the hospitals in my area have discontinued Diabetic Educators and send even newly diagnosed and insulin dependent elderly patients home alone with NO teaching except that “the Home Health nurse will do it”.
    I spent 4 hours on one start of care with an 80 year old who found out that she was diabetic when her Big toe was cut off from necrosis.
    This of course blew my ‘expected productivity’ to hell that day but before I left she not only could test herself but also draw up 2 separate daily doses of 2 types of insulin.