Diabetes has been for a long time has been a problem for older adults in the society. In numbers, approximately twenty percent of individuals that over sixty-five years have diabetes and half them have not been diagnosed for the same. There are many misconceptions about diabetes, but basically that of the senior adults is not different from that of the younger groups, with a few exceptions.
Diabetes is manageable today through diet and exercise and a bit of pharmacological therapy is needed in many occasions to optimize glucose levels of the body.
The most recent data from the US census indicates that the elderly in America are increasing in number and one in every eight Americans are over 65. The estimates show that by 2020 one in every six Americans will be over 65 (Cooper, 1999, p. 2). This information is critical, Why? The Third National Health Examination Survey shows that 20 percent of the citizens aged between 65 and seventy-four are diabetic and one-half of them have not been diagnosed for the disease. This further fuels the motive to find a long lasting solution to the inherent problem.
Medical practitioners in the care and management for diabetes mellitus in the elderly have had to comply with the American Diabetes Association Standards of Car for Hospitalized patients. These are basically diet, exercise and pharmacological therapy.
Management of Diabetes
Management of diabetes in the elderly can be a unique challenge factoring in the other coexisting diseases, financial constraints coming into play.
Diabetes is a dangerous disease among the elderly, bearing in mind its mortality and morbidity rate if left untreated, worse still undiagnosed. I recommend testing of all individual over the age of forty- five and three years retesting would suffice. The atypical symptoms of diabetes in the elderly should be kept in mind not to go unnoticed. In addition to this the individual should be subjected to comprehensive geriatric that includes assessment and evaluation of the patient's nutritional status and psychosocial problems.
Diet and frequent exercise have long been the most effective diabetes treatment for patients of all ages. Although weight loss increases the effectiveness of insulin in the body they are not as effective in the long term. A lot fat diet and an exercise that is not very intensive should be enough to reduce the resistance of insulin by the body. The recommended amounts would be less than thirty percent of calories in fat and over fifty percent calories in carbohydrates (Frost, Dornhorst, & Moses, 2003, p. 3). The exercises need not be intense and leisure activities are recommended.
These normally include activities that involve preparation usage and administering of drugs to patients, in this case, diabetic patients. Some of the drugs or hormones that can be administered to diabetic patients include: Biguanides, Sulfonylureas, glucosidase inhibitors, Thiazolidinediones, Meglitinides and insulin.
Methods of assessing the effectiveness of the strategy
The most functional methods that can be used to test how much the strategy is helping the diabetic patients are as follows. Firstly the most employed method of assessment is the daily activities living (ADL) together with wealth instruments of activity daily living (IADL). This involves an analysis of the most complex activities of the day that the elderly patient has to go through such as answering the telephone, managing his or her income and travelling and so on. For the evaluation to be complete the physio-social aspect has to be monitored through the minimum Mental Status Examination (MMSE) and a scale of measuring depression, the Geriatric Depression Scale. In addition to this the environment and social well-being of the patient, financial constraints, and dependency also have to be observed for some time.
Variables to be assessed
In exercising these methods above the variables that are assessed, don’t vary for the elderly and for any other age. The clinical data assessment of the patient has to be considered, this involves a thorough examination of the history and physical examination. Another variable that needs to be looked into would be the nutrition history assessment which involve activities like use of alcohol by the patient, his or her weight, use of any supplements , calories intake in a day and so on. Lastly, the variable that cannot be ignored include the attitude of the patient towards managing the disease, tracking the activities and exercise of the patient as well as his or her psychosocial issues.
Tools for assessment
There is a variety of tools that can be used to measure the effectiveness of the project. These are the Accu-check device is a metre that show to what scale diabetes has developed in the patient. The glucometer is another very important device used by health care attendants to show the glucose level in the patients and the nurse would advice accordingly basing on the required normal blood sugar levels.
Obtaining support from stakeholders
The stakeholders ranging from nurses, the patient, doctors, nutritionists, fitness instructors will have to view the plan and quantitative and qualitative research obtained. They will be briefed on the benefits that accrue to all of them in particular but mostly importantly the elderly patient. The signatures of the supporting parties would be sufficient to show that the proposal has been widely accepted.
Significance to the nursing community
The project would accrue benefits to all stakeholders. Nurses, in particular, will have better and concise directions and medication while working on a diabetes mellitus patient. The project will enable the family to know ways of taking care of the patient at the absence of the nurse and, therefore, the nurse would have the opportunity of helping other patients who need her more. The modernisation of these procedures will make it easier for nurses to attend to patients. The nursing community can now appreciate the efforts of other professionals in looking to control the disease as well as the advent of antihyperglycemic agents that help in controlling blood sugar levels while alleviating the possibilities of hypoglycemia.
Cooper, J. (1999). Diabetes mellitus in the elderly. New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press.
Frost, G., Dornhorst, A., & Moses, R. (2003). Nutritional management of diabetes mellitus. Chichester, Eng: John Wiley & Sons.