New guidelines for doctors, nurses and care home managers who work with or care for older people with type 2 diabetes have been released to ensure older diabetic patients receive better care .
The clinical European guidelines – the first for elderly diabetics – have been put together by the Institute of Diabetes for Older People (IDOP) in an effort to address current care issues, which include the high number of elderly diabetics needlessly suffering serious complications due to a lack of proper care and preventive treatment .
According to IDOP director Professor Alan Sinclair, younger people with diabetes are routinely offered ‘aggressive treatments’ to prevent long-term complications of type 2 diabetes such as nerve damage, heart disease, diabetic retinopathy and kidney disease. But these treatments are often denied to patients aged 60 and over, despite people in this age group being most at risk of these disorders.
“It’s a tragedy that so many elderly people suffer these complications when they could be so easily prevented if they were given the care and treatment that they need,” he said.
Prof Sinclair explained that past clinical guidelines have focusing mainly on the needs of the young and ignored the unique issues faced by elderly people with diabetes such as frailty, loss of functional ability and increased dependency.
“Consequently older people have missed out on preventive treatments and suffered blindness and limb amputation as a result in some cases,” he added.
The IDOP guidelines aim to address these care gaps to give patients the best diabetes care possible.
They include clinical standards across 18 areas of care, including screening and diagnosis, prevention, hypoglycemia, secondary complications, cognitive impairment, falls and immobility; and an evidence-based review of treatment for older diabetics, intended as a resource for clinical decision-making.

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