How Can an STNA Help a Patient with Diabetes?
Diabetes is one of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States. A recent report found that nearly half of Americans either have this disease or are at the risk of developing it. Without proper care and medication, diabetes can lead to several long-term complications, including blindness, stroke, kidney failure, and nerve damage. How can a nursing assistant play an active role in managing diabetes and prevent further complications? Read more to find out:
The best way to manage diabetes and prevent complications is to become an educated consumer. Besides avoiding processed food high in sugar, people living with diabetes also need to look for saturated fat content and sodium levels in food. In-home nursing care aides can educate patients about effective diet management. They can explain about portion control, ensure adequate protein intake, and even work with the patient’s dietician to prepare meal plans.
Diabetes medications regulate blood sugar levels. It has been found that patients who took their medications at least 80% of the time and maintained an active lifestyle are at a lower risk for poorly controlled blood sugar1. It has also been found that patients who were prescribed metformin, the most commonly prescribed diabetes drug, are the least likely to take their medication.2. An in-home nursing care aide can help with medication reminders or administer insulin to patients who are unable to do so themselves.
Look Out for Diabetic Emergencies
People with diabetes are also prone to hypoglycemia, a condition where the sugar levels are dangerously low. Hypoglycemia can be fatal and can lead to a stroke or heart attack in elderly people. A nursing assistant is trained to look for symptoms of diabetic emergencies and also prevent hypoglycemia. This can be done by making sure that the patient eats at the same time every day, has adequate snacks between meals, checks his or her blood sugar regularly, and reports any changes in appetite.
Maintaining oral hygiene and general cleanliness is important another important step to avoid complications. Foot care is especially important for people with diabetes. This is because high sugar levels can damage nerve cells in the feet. This can cause people to lose the sense of feeling in their feet. Then, they may not know if they have cut themselves while walking or that they have developed a blister because of an ill-fitting shoe. An in-home nursing care aide can look for sores, blisters, or wounds and report them immediately. This is very important because nerve damage could delay healing and cause an infection.
These are some of the reasons an in-home STNA can help those managing diabetes, allowing them to stay independent and live a healthy life.