Date: 28 January 2014
New Acute Diabetes Service being piloted
The RUH has introduced a new Acute Diabetes Service, which is improving the way we care for patients with diabetes. Between 15-20% of all the patients seen at the RUH have diabetes and this number will continue to increase. Treatment of this group of patients is generally more complex and their hospital stay can be longer than those patients without diabetes.
In the past we relied on individual wards letting the Diabetes Team know that they had patients with diabetes. The patient may have already been in for several days before hand and as a result their specialist diabetes care may not have been implemented in a timely manner.
Our new Acute Diabetes Service is a more proactive approach, with a team of diabetes nurses making daily rounds of the Emergency Department or the Medical Assessment Unit to identify patients who have diabetes, bringing specialist care to patients quickly.
They carry out assessments, including examination of the feet, and provide a care plan to manage the patient's diabetes whilst they are in hospital, and advise nurses who are caring for the patient. This information is also sent to GPs and community nurses to form part of any on-going care required once the patient is discharged.
Dr Marc Atkin, Consultant in Diabetes, said: "This more rapid service has the potential to significantly improve the safety and quality of care we give to our patients when they come into hospital, and ensure their stay is as smooth as possible. Our patients already tell us their care is good but we know it can be better."
Doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants on the Medical Assessment Unit have undertaken a comprehensive education programme on all aspects of diabetes, which will enhance their skills and confidence in looking after patients with the condition, and improve the patient experience. Staff have fed back to the diabetes team that they feel more supported in managing patients with diabetes now that we have a daily presence on the ward and have learned so much more about the condition.
Since starting the project the number of patients being reviewed in the Medical Assessment Unit has increased by tenfold; this means that we have assessed over 250 patients that may not have been seen by our diabetes team We will be reviewing the impact of the service at the end of the six months with a view to rolling out to other areas across the hospital. The first three month's data is already indicating a positive impact by making the stay in the RUH for patients with diabetes as smooth and as safe as possible.