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Covid-19 Update: How we are prepared to ensure the health and safety of all our patients and employees. Read More
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Don’t Forget About Diabetes!

Don’t Forget About Diabetes!

 

 

We know you have a lot on your mind.

We are, after all, in the middle of a Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic that has turned a lot of lives upside down.

People are stuck indoors, away from their routines, living out of their pantries, unable to go to the gym or the park.

That’s hard enough on healthy people. But when you are dealing with a chronic condition, it’s that much more difficult to maintain your vigilance and watch your baseline health.

Even in ordinary times, controlling your diabetes is a challenge.

Constantly monitoring your blood sugar and insulin levels and watching your diet are always a concern. Now you have the additional difficulties of getting healthy foods when the grocery stores are sold out of essentials—or even closed.

Even getting your regular insulin or other medications may be a challenge, and people with chronic conditions or immunodeficiencies should be especially careful about going outside unnecessarily.

Don’t lose sight of your goals!

Being cut off from your usual healthy diet and exercise habits may tempt you to take a “vacation” from your customary vigilance. That would be a mistake. You’d be increasing your risk of

  • Heart disease, heart attack, and stroke
  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Eye injury and vision loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Foot damage such as infections and sores that don’t heal
  • Skin conditions such as bacterial and fungal infections
  • Depression
  • Dementia

 

Strategies for coping: Obtaining healthy food

Luckily there are ways to get around these issues. Diabetes patients who are independent can use grocery or food delivery services such as

…and others, to minimize their exposure to risks.

Paying in advance and tipping through the service protects both delivery people and yourself, and don’t forget to wash your hands after handling the groceries or food delivery.

Obtaining your medical supplies

We don’t encourage advance-ordering of tons of medications or supplies, especially perishables. But now would be a good time to convert your regular prescription to 90-day supply. Ask about arranging delivery—if your insurance and pharmacy will cover it—to reduce your exposure.

If your insurance provider has previously denied you a 90-day supply prescription, now’s a great time to ask again. During these difficult times, many insurers are relaxing their rules.

If you don’t have access to food or medication delivery, check for local volunteers, or perhaps your neighbors, family or friends. In any case, choose someone who doesn’t have added risks such as age, heart conditions, or diabetes to help you out.

Special instructions for caregivers

If you are a healthcare or personal care aide taking care of diabetic patients, remember: you may be the greatest point of exposure for your vulnerable patients. In recent nursing home outbreaks, visiting nurses were a major vector for the spread of Coronavirus. And more serious outcomes are associated with chronic conditions like diabetes, so follow your hygiene practices carefully:

  • Begin your sanitation at the front doorknob, and wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you enter or leave the patient space. Do the same when you return to the office, clinic, and your own home.
  • If you handle food and medication packages that have come in from outside, sanitize them and yourself afterwards.
  • Remember, aides are not allowed to handle needles or sharps. If the patient cannot perform any aspect of their glucose monitoring or self-medication, speak to your Coordinator.
  • Follow the protocols in the Diabetes Management Handout carefully.

 

In addition, these COVID-19 precautions are recommended:

  • Remember, the virus can be spread asymptomatically, so protect yourself—and your clients—from infection. Use your PPE and maintain social distance except as necessary to care for your client.
  • Monitor your temperature—and your patients’ temperature—at least once daily. A fever over 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C), especially if accompanied by a cough, may indicate a COVID-19 infection.
  • Whether you or your patient is affected, report any flu-like illness, especially a worsening, dry cough, to the Nurse Supervisor. You may save a life!

 

Bottom Line: Diabetes and other chronic conditions add to the challenges we all face at this time. Be safe!