Optimising treatment in older people with type 2 diabetes and frailty: the role of district nurses
Evidence and practice    

Optimising treatment in older people with type 2 diabetes and frailty: the role of district nurses

Heidi Irons District nurse, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To recognise the link between type 2 diabetes and frailty and the associated risks for older people

  • To understand the importance of optimising treatment regimens in older people with type 2 diabetes and frailty

  • To acknowledge the need for district nurses to keep up to date with advances in diabetes care

The care of older people living with type 2 diabetes and frailty is a significant part of district nurses’ caseload. Type 2 diabetes is common in older people and increases the risk of frailty, while the weight loss associated with frailty increases the risk of hypoglycaemia, which is a major complication of diabetes. Hypoglycaemia has serious adverse consequences for older people, including cerebrovascular accidents, myocardial infarction, retinopathy, falls and fractures, and premature death. District nurses have an important role to play in optimising the treatment regimens of older people with diabetes type 2 and frailty, ensuring adequate glycaemic control while reducing the risk of hypoglycaemia. They are well placed to intervene early, identify functional decline, prevent overtreatment and minimise the risk of adverse events and worsening frailty. To fulfil that role, district nurses need multidisciplinary working with diabetes specialist teams, regular training to keep up to date with advances in diabetes care, and improved guidance on the management of type 2 diabetes in older people living with frailty.

Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2022.e1704

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

Heidi.irons@mft.nhs.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Irons H (2022) Optimising treatment in older people with type 2 diabetes and frailty: the role of district nurses. Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2022.e1704

Published online: 19 January 2022

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