Patients with diabetes should recover faster from surgery and spend less time in hospital thanks to new processes and guidelines introduced by Capital & Coast DHB.

The changes have been implemented through the district health board-wide ‘Sweet As’ campaign to improve management of patients’ diabetes while they’re in hospital.

“Around 15-20 percent of inpatients – patients who stay overnight – have diabetes. That’s 120 patients with diabetes in our hospitals at any one time,” said diabetes nurse Miranda Walker.

“A key part of managing patients’ diabetes is ensuring they don’t develop hyper or hypoglycaemia – where blood glucose levels become too high or low. That can be difficult when a patient needs to fast before a surgery or a procedure.”

That’s why insulin management for fasting patients is being improved, along with clearer guidance around hyper and hypoglycaemia.

“We used to wait until a patient’s blood glucose dropped below four millimoles of glucose per litre of blood before acting. Now we act if it drops below six. We also have more consistent guidelines for treating high blood glucose – which can lead to slower recovery, infections, and longer hospital stays.

“These changes are expected to help keep patients’ blood glucose at levels that encourage wound healing – meaning they will recover faster from surgery, leave hospital sooner, and have a far better experience and outcome overall.”


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