Diabetes specialist nurses can provide excellent and cost-effective care

Fri, 13 Jul 2012
A new study has highlighted the high quality of care provided by diabetes specialist nurses (DSNs), which researchers say is similar to that given by doctors, but more cost effective.

Experts at Maastricht University Medical Centre in The Netherlands analysed and compared the standard of care given by both types of medical staff to patients with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. They found no major difference in quality of life, in terms of health, among patients in either care group.

Fewer side-effects from drugs, less patients being hospitalised and reduced overall costs were reported when a DSN acted as the main care giver. Additionally, fewer of those looked after by a specialist nurse developed diabetes complications.

In conclusion, the researchers said that DSNs were an integral part of the multidisciplinary teams and more than capable of handling the central role in provision of diabetic care .

Simon O'Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy at Diabetes UK, said the study was further proof of a diabetes specialist nurse's ability "to provide excellent and cost-effective care.

"Nurses are already responsible for about 80 per cent of direct diabetes care and we need to ensure that these nursing posts - hundreds of which are currently being frozen - are protected for the benefit of people with diabetes," he added.

"We believe that DSNs should be an integral part of the multidisciplinary team, working alongside physicians, dieticians, podiatrists etc. The current trend of reducing their numbers is short-sighted and will have a negative impact on the long-term health of patients."
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