Throughout South Florida, our Home Health Agency is making a difference in people’s lives
It is a known issue that patients are being released from hospitals and rehabilitation centers earlier in their course of care than ever before, and seniors with diabetes are no exception. Fortunately, from Palm Beach Gardens to Sunny Isles, the team at Tri-County Home Care is enormously experienced and at the ready to identify the impact of diabetes and the risk factors key to making progress against the disease.
According to an article from the Center for Home Care Policy and Research website, diabetes is ranked 2nd behind congestive heart failure as the primary diagnosis at entry into home care. When diabetes and heart failure is combined, it becomes the leading diagnosis, which is an important consideration with the majority of patients being referred to home care being over the age of 65. And the projections of an increase in diabetes incidences is another concern for home health care teams.
Recognizing Age-Related Conditions
Our bodies change as we get older. When it comes to blood sugar, such changes can mask signs of hyperglycemia (low blood sugar) and alter clinical results. Declining taste and smell, for example, may result in poor nutritional intake or even malnutrition, or at least result in overuse of salt and other seasonings, which impact other medical conditions. Changes in dental work can also affect food choices, which impact gastrointestinal functions and nutritional status.
Reduced thirst perception and inability for the kidneys to concentrate urine as a response to a deficit of fluid can result in dehydration, as well as progression to a hyperglycemic hypersmolar state. This is a serious condition, often precipitated by infection or other stressors, and has a 15% mortality rate among older patients (according to the American Diabetes Association). Even thinning skin and a reluctance to take in fluids at night for fear of incontinence contribute to diabetic issues.
Dehydration is also known to impact a person’s ability to reason. Changes in such cognitive abilities can lead to limitation in daily activities, undiagnosed depression, and even more social isolation than is recommended these days. Normalizing blood glucose levels may restore their ability to communicate effectively, to the point of even more participation in their own diabetes management.
Studies have shown that 60-70% of patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are affected by neuropathy, a dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, usually causing numbness or weakness. Distal polyneuropathy is the most prevalent, followed by carpal tunnel syndrome, other mononeuropathies and autonomic neuropathy. The presence of one or more neuropathies can cause a decline in condition, often resulting in an incident that presents a need for home health care services.
Peripheral neuropathy causes pain or numbness in the lower extremities. It can make it difficult for someone to know where their foot is in relation to the floor and causes balancing issues and an increased risk of falling. And patients with symptomatic autonomic neuropathy have a 3x greater 5-year mortality rate than those without, with such life-threatening effects as abnormal heart rates and orthostatic hypertension.
Gastroparesis and chronic issues with constipation followed by explosive diarrhea are common forms of gastrointestinal autonomic neuropathy, while bladder dysfunction and urinary tract infections can be related to diabetic neuropathy.
The Tri-County Home Care Difference
For persons on hemodialysis, their home care nurse communicates with the dialysis center, coordinates transportation when appropriate, and coaches the patient or caregiver on fluid restrictions, dietary adherence, and prescribed medications. By communicating about weight changes, blood pressure, and glucose control, our nurse closes the loop and keeps the entire health care team, including the patient, actively involved.
Monitoring blood pressure and glucose will also help prevent diabetic kidney disease by promoting screening for possible vascular disease (when determined to be prudent) and introduce interventions against cardiovascular risk factors.
Our home care nurses have the unique opportunity to view patients’ home settings and oversee all the medications a patient may be taking. Being cared for by a variety of health care professionals can equate to a potentially unsafe scenario of competing meds. Patients and family often assume that providers communicate with one another regarding prescriptions, but this is frequently not the case. Adherence to the medication regimen is critical to taking control of diabetes, and one of the top responsibilities of your home healthcare provider.
Tri-County Home Care is dedicated to those who have difficulties taking care of themselves, with offices in Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood. It doesn’t matter if your mom lives in Fairfield in Boca while your dad is living in Lakewood at Emerald Hills in Hollywood, we have you covered. For families and seniors living throughout South Florida, you need look no further than our experienced and caring staff when seeking help for loved ones with diabetes.
Our goal is to help you and your loved one maintain a healthy lifestyle while managing diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or any debilitating condition. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us at 561-922-9178, or click here to schedule a consultation.