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Monitoring Homecare Patients

Oct 13, 2013
In my 25 years of nursing, I can recall many incidents of “Diabetes Disasters Averted.” Here are just two that happened to our homecare patients.

An elderly woman was demonstrating her technique to me and drew up her insulin into a syringe. She could not see well enough to distinguish the air from the clear insulin and had no idea that half the syringe was filled with air. This was proof that we needed to establish a change in her care plan. Options we considered included: having a family member draw up the dose or switch to a pen.

Another patient in his 50s and mentally delayed, showed me how he drew up the correct dose. He administered the dose but withdrew the syringe before he was completely done pushing the plunger down. Consequently he squirted insulin all over his skin. I called this to his attention but he had no idea this had occurred or that it was a problem.

Lesson Learned:

Always have a patient repeat a demonstration of their insulin administration, even months or years after they were originally taught. Never assume they are practicing good technique especially when seeing out of control blood glucose. When the patient is scheduled to take their insulin, make an effort to be present to observe. Don’t worry, you won’t insult the patient if you ask to watch.

Mamie, MS, RN, RD, CDE

Copyright © 2013 Diabetes In Control, Inc.


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