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Diabetes staff highlight the dangers of hypos

10 August 2012

Diabetes staff at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are publicising the dangers of hypoglycaemia this month by taking part in the first ever national Hypo Awareness Week.

Hypos (hypoglycaemia or low blood glucose) happen when the blood glucose level of people with diabetes drops too low and they can feel shaky and unwell.

The Trust is taking part in the first ever national Hypo Awareness Week, which runs from Monday 13 to Sunday 19 August, to try and reduce incidents of hypoglycaemia. It is organised by NHS Diabetes.

The National Diabetes Inpatient Audit, a bedside survey, has consistently found that 15 per cent of inpatients have diabetes and almost a quarter of them experience a hypo while in hospital.

Clinical staff across all inpatient areas and some outpatient areas at the Royal Derby Hospital and the London Road Community Hospital have received training on how to spot the signs of hypoglycaemia and what vital steps need to be taken to care for someone suffering from hypoglycaemia.

Diabetes staff will be raising awareness of hypoglycaemia with an information stand near the Royal Derby Hospital’s main entrance on Thursday 16 August.

Bev Eaglesfield, diabetes nurse specialist at Derby Hospitals, said: “Prompt care is very important. We’ve worked really hard to train staff across the organisation to recognise the signs of hypoglycaemia and equip them with the skills and confidence to know what care to provide.

“We’re really pleased to be involved in Hypo Awareness Week, raising awareness and helping to reduce instances of hypos occurring in hospital.”

The diabetes department at Derby Hospitals provides specialist services for patients with diabetes throughout Southern Derbyshire, of which there are more than 25,000. It offers a wide range of specialist clinics which are often held jointly with consultants from other departments; and also works closely with GPs and practice nurses to deliver care close to patients’ homes wherever possible.

Partnerships have been formed with GPs in Derby and Derbyshire so that patients can see consultants, diabetes nurses, and diabetes dietitians quickly with joint sharing of diabetes records with the consent of the patient.

The department also runs a number of clinical trials looking at new drug treatments for patients with diabetes.

The week has been organised by NHS Diabetes, which works with the NHS to improve diabetes care by introducing resources and guidance.

Director of NHS Diabetes Anna Morton said: “Patient safety is a priority we all take very seriously. The fact that almost a quarter of people with diabetes experience a hypo while in hospital reinforces the need to raise awareness of hypoglycaemia to ensure patients in hospital get the best possible care. This is an area of care which needs addressing urgently. This first ever National Hypo Week aims to promote hypoglycaemia and in turn reduce the number of hypos in hospitals.

“We are encouraging trusts in England to hold activities and training, ensure they have fully-stocked hypo kits on their wards and that all staff (including receptionists) are aware of the symptoms of a hypo and what to do in the event of one.”