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Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
Date:1/5/2009

Care for aging people with the disease falls short, study finds,,,,

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- More and more people with diabetes are living to older ages, thanks to medical advances. But the long-term facilities, such as nursing homes, that care for aging Americans may not be ready for the additional challenges that come with treating patients with diabetes.

"We need to spend appropriate time to think of a way to successfully provide care for people with diabetes as they enter their elder years, and we're just beginning to understand how to do that," said Dr. Paul Strumph, vice president and chief medical officer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Although as many as one in four nursing home residents has diabetes, not all are getting care that meets the American Diabetes Association's goals for community-dwelling adults, according to a recent study.

The study, published in Diabetes Care, found that while 98 percent of nursing home residents with diabetes had their blood glucose levels monitored, only 38 percent met short-term glucose goals.

The better news from the study was that 67 percent of the nursing home residents with diabetes met their long-term glucose control goals, which meant they scored less than 7 percent on their A1C tests. A1C is a measure of long-term blood sugar control.

"One of the key differences in managing diabetes in a nursing home is that it's often not the condition of primary importance," said Helaine Resnick, director of research at the Institute for the Future of Aging Services for the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

Resnick said one of the concerns she had with the study findings was that no one has yet to come up with specific guidelines for caring for elderly people with diabetes. Glucose control goals for someone who's 40 and living at home may well be different than for someone who's 85, cognit
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