Why it’s vital to educate patients that all insulins are not the same
I recently had a home care patient who had been discharged from a skilled nursing facility with a prescription for regular insulin, and who was put on a sliding scale dosage. The patient was experiencing hypoglycemic reactions. I was called to see him find out why he was having multiple hypoglycemic reactions. When I asked to see how he and his wife were calibrating and injecting his insulin, she brought out a bottle of Lantus insulin.
The patient’s wife had not filled the new prescription for the regular insulin because she thought that she already had insulin that her husband could use at home. She had the Lantus insulin, which he was on before his hospitalization, and she wanted to use that insulin before purchasing any more. She was using Lantus for the sliding scale dosage instead of the regular insulin, which was proving highly dangerous.
Lesson Learned: Never take for granted that the patient is dosing properly or is using the insulin the doctor has prescribed.
Linda, RN, CDE
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