MONITORING/TESTS OF GLYCEMIA

Monitoring of CBG is a strategy that allows caregivers and people with diabetes to evaluate diabetes management regimens. The frequency of monitoring will vary by patients?? glycemic control and diabetes regimens. Patients with type 1 diabetes are at risk for hypoglycemia and should have their CBG monitored three or more times daily. Patients with type 2 diabetes on insulin need to monitor at least once daily and more frequently based on their medical plan. Patients treated with oral agents should have CBG monitored with sufficient frequency to facilitate the goals of glycemic control, assuming that there is a program for medical review of these data on an ongoing basis to drive changes in medications. Patients whose diabetes is poorly controlled or whose therapy is changing should have more frequent monitoring. Unexplained hyperglycemia in a patient with type 1 diabetes may suggest impending DKA, and monitoring of ketones should therefore be performed.

Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) is a measure of long-term (2- to 3-month) glycemic control. Perform the A1C test at least two times a year in patients who are meeting treatment goals (and who have stable glycemic control) and quarterly in patients whose therapy has changed or who are not meeting glycemic goals.

Discrepancies between CBG monitoring results and A1C may indicate a hemoglobinopathy, hemolysis, or need for evaluation of CBG monitoring technique and equipment or initiation of more frequent CBG monitoring to identify when glycemic excursions are occurring and which facet of the diabetes regimen is changing. 

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In the correctional setting, policies and procedures need to be developed and implemented regarding CBG monitoring that address the following.

* Infection control
* Education of staff and patients
* Proper choice of meter
* Disposal of testing lancets
* Quality control programs
* Access to health services
* Size of the blood sample
* Patient performance skills
* Documentation and interpretation of test results
* Availability of test results for the health care provider

Recommendations

* In the correctional setting, policies and procedures need to be developed and implemented to enable CBG monitoring to occur at the frequency necessitated by the individual patient??s glycemic control and diabetes regimen. (E)
* A1C should be checked every 3??6 months. (E)

SELF-MANAGEMENT EDUCATION

Self-management education is the cornerstone of treatment for all people with diabetes. The health staff must advocate for patients to participate in self-management as much as possible. Individuals with diabetes who learn self-management skills and make lifestyle changes can more effectively manage their diabetes and avoid or delay complications associated with diabetes. In the development of a diabetes self-management education program in the correctional environment, the unique circumstances of the patient should be considered while still providing, to the greatest extent possible, the elements of the “National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education”. A staged approach may be used depending on the needs assessment and the length of incarceration. Table 2 sets out the major components of diabetes self-management education. Survival skills should be addressed as soon as possible; other aspects of education may be provided as part of an ongoing education program.

Ideally, self-management education is coordinated by a certified diabetes educator who works with the facility to develop polices, procedures, and protocols to ensure that nationally recognized education guidelines are implemented. The educator is also able to identify patients who need diabetes self-management education, including an assessment of the patients?? medical, social, and diabetes histories; diabetes knowledge, skills, and behaviors; and readiness to change.

STAFF EDUCATION

Policies and procedures should be implemented to ensure that the health care staff has adequate knowledge and skills to direct the management and education of persons with diabetes. The health care staff needs to be involved in the development of the correctional officers?? training program. The staff education program should be at a lay level. Training should be offered at least biannually, and the curriculum should cover the following:

* What is diabetes
* Signs and symptoms of diabetes
* Risk factors
* Signs and symptoms of, and emergency response to, hypo- and hyperglycemia
* Glucose monitoring
* Medications
* Exercise
* Nutrition issues including timing of meals and access to snacks

Recommendations

Include diabetes in correctional staff education programs. (E)

ALCOHOL AND DRUGS

Patients with diabetes who are withdrawing from drugs and alcohol need special consideration. This issue particularly affects initial police custody and jails. At an intake facility, proper initial identification and assessment of these patients are critical. The presence of diabetes may complicate detoxification. Patients in need of complicated detoxification should be referred to a facility equipped to deal with high-risk detoxification. Patients with diabetes should be educated in the risks involved with smoking. All inmates should be advised not to smoke. Assistance in smoking cessation should be provided as practical.

TRANSFER AND DISCHARGE

Patients in jails may be housed for a short period of time before being transferred or released, and it is not unusual for patients in prison to be transferred within the system several times during their incarceration. One of the many challenges that health care providers face working in the correctional system is how to best collect and communicate important health care information in a timely manner when a patient is in initial police custody, is jailed short term, or is transferred from facility to facility. The importance of this communication becomes critical when the patient has a chronic illness such as diabetes.

Transferring a patient with diabetes from one correctional facility to another requires a coordinated effort. To facilitate a thorough review of medical information and completion of a transfer summary, it is critical for custody personnel to provide medical staff with sufficient notice before movement of the patient.

Before the transfer, the health care staff should review the patient??s medical record and complete a medical transfer summary that includes the patient??s current health care issues. At a minimum, the summary should include the following.

* The patient??s current medication schedule and dosages
* The date and time of the last medication administration
* Any recent monitoring results (e.g., CBG and A1C)
* Other factors that indicate a need for immediate treatment or management at the receiving facility (e.g., recent episodes of hypoglycemia, history of severe hypoglycemia or frequent DKA, concurrent illnesses, presence of diabetes complications)
* Information on scheduled treatment/appointments if the receiving facility is responsible for transporting the patient to that appointment
* Name and telephone/fax number of a contact person at the transferring facility who can provide additional information, if needed

The medical transfer summary, which acts as a quick medical reference for the receiving facility, should be transferred along with the patient. To supplement the flow of information and to increase the probability that medications are correctly identified at the receiving institution, sending institutions are encouraged to provide each patient with a medication card to be carried by the patient that contains information concerning diagnoses, medication names, dosages, and frequency. Diabetes supplies, including diabetes medication, should accompany the patient.

The sending facility must be mindful of the transfer time in order to provide the patient with medication and food if needed. The transfer summary or medical record should be reviewed by a health care provider upon arrival at the receiving institution.

Planning for patients?? discharge from prisons should include instruction in the long-term complications of diabetes, the necessary lifestyle changes and examinations required to prevent these complications, and, if possible, where patients may obtain regular follow-up medical care. A quarterly meeting to educate patients with upcoming discharges about community resources can be valuable. Inviting community agencies to speak at these meetings and/or provide written materials can help strengthen the community link for patients discharging from correctional facilities.

Discharge planning for the patients with diabetes should begin 1 month before discharge. During this time, application for appropriate entitlements should be initiated. Any gaps in the patient??s knowledge of diabetes care need to be identified and addressed. It is helpful if the patient is given a directory or list of community resources and if an appointment for follow-up care with a community provider is made. A supply of medication adequate to last until the first postrelease medical appointment should be provided to the patient upon release. The patient should be provided with a written summary of his/her current heath care issues, including medications and doses, recent A1C values, etc.

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AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION
DIABETES CARE, VOLUME 27, SUPPLEMENT 1, JANUARY 2004

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May 27, 10 • Diabetes mellitus