Diabetes Inpatient services
Being admitted to hospital can be an upsetting experience for anyone, but this is particularly true for people with diabetes, especially if you use insulin.
The Diabetes Team is available to help support you in Altnagelvin Hospital, South West Acute Hospital and Omagh Hospital. Ward staff are encouraged to contact us if they have any problems or concerns about helping you manage your diabetes or you have been admitted for a specific problem related to your diabetes. You can also ask to see the diabetes team yourself, if you wish. Diabetes dieticians, specialist nurses and doctors will help you during your admission when needed. Protocols exist to help non-specialist healthcare staff initially manage hypoglycaemia (low blood sugars, <4), diabetic ketoacidosis, high blood glucose or if you are fasting for a procedure or unable to eat due to nausea and vomiting. Diabetes specialist staff will also be on hand when more help is requested by ward staff.
Supported Administration of Insulin for Inpatients
If you use insulin, you may administer this yourself and choose your own doses if you wish. Medicines, including insulin, are always prescribed and administration by nurses is the norm. However, in recognition of the individual difference between people taking insulin and your knowledge and experience, if you wish, you can ask for the application of this protocol to formally recognise that you should choose your own insulin doses and administer your own insulin. The ward staff or diabetes team will go through a short checklist. Your insulin will be prescribed as usual but the doses will not be specified as you will choose them.
However, due to other safety considerations and the Law regarding medicines, nurses will keep your insulin locked at your beside cabinet or in a ward fridge, labelled for your use only. Please do remind staff to give you access to your insulin before meals when you would normally give it. While you may choose the dose and administer it yourself, the nurse will observe and will store your insulin safely away again afterwards. The nurse will also record your blood glucose and the dose on hospital monitoring documents. If you are not sure of your dose as your blood glucose is not responding to insulin as expected, then the nurse or ward doctors may help advise you or they can contact the diabetes team for you.