Help! My Diabetic Mom is in a Nursing Home

| Jul 3, 2007

Q: My mother, who is a "brittle diabetic," has been sent to a skilled nursing facility for two weeks of rehabilitation following a seven-week hospital stay. I am amazed and frightened at the lack of concern for and attention to her diabetes care at the nursing home.

Despite our repeated requests for a diabetic diet, she continues to receive regular food trays. Often her insulin shots are missed. Her blood sugar has ranged between the mid-500s to as low as 38. Finally, one morning after her blood sugar dropped below fifty, I put her monitor and some snacks by her bedside so that she can at least partially manage her diabetes by herself.

Is there anyone out there to whom I can report this poor care? I've tried nurses, doctors, and patient care technicians, but no one seems to take this disease seriously. I'm afraid they're going to kill her.

Ruth Wright

A: Dear Ruth,

Your mother's blood sugar control during her hospitalization is possibly being affected by a number of factors, including the stress response and the use of pharmacological agents, as well as the hospital's practices. To address your concerns about your mother's poor glycemic control, you could do the following:

  • Request a diabetes consult to review and revise your mother's current diabetes plan.
  • Schedule an appointment with the facility's nurse manager or director of nursing to discuss the issues impeding glycemic control, such as skipped insulin doses and the lack of a carbohydrate-controlled meal plan.
  • Contact your local or state Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (at The federal Older Americans Act requires every state to create an ombudsman program to investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents of long-term care facilities.

Mary M. Sullivan RN, APRN, BC, CDE
Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Practitioner

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Categories: Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Food, Hospital Care, Insulin, Letters to the Editor

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Posted by ricklude on 11 December 2007

I have have the dis-pleasure of transporting all kinds of patients into and out of "long term care, skilled nursing facilities" aka nursing homes, a very few and ONLY a very few of which, I personally would care to be "stuck" in. All the others should be labeled "long term human storage facilities", providing horrorable if any real care of their charges.

If you get no positive results after speaking with and pushing (and I do mean pushing it) the issue of her proper care with her care providers, doctor(s), and manager of the place, sans an immediate change in care by all parties involved, by all means, get in touch with the state's ombudsman and push your concerns and for action(s) to be taken post haste.

As a matter of fact, do it right now and find a better place which will accept her while your at it! Get her out of that hell hole!

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