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Nurses should have greater role in diabetes management – study

Nurses should have greater role in diabetes management - study - Featured Image

A study has found a new program where primary care nurses led insulin treatment for Type 2 diabetics can dramatically improve longer term health outcomes of patients.

Published in the BMJ, it looked into 74 primary health clinics across Australia and compared a nurse led insulin treatment initiation with a traditional approach to diabetes management.

70% of patients in the ‘Stepping Up’ program began treatment when compared to just 22% at clinics taking a traditional approach to diabetes management.

According to Associate Professor John Furler from the University of Melbourne: “By focusing on an enhanced role for the practice nurse, who is trained and mentored by a registered nurse with diabetes educator credentials, the model uses existing resources within the practice to improve outcomes.”

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Early adoption of insulin can improve health outcomes and reduce the chance of damage to the eyes, kidney and nerves.

However according to the study: “Insulin initiation is often delayed, however, particularly in primary care, where  implementation is not widespread despite being recommended as part of routine clinical management of type 2 diabetes.”

Related: Diabetes: “lip service” to behavioural approaches

“After 12 months, we found that patients had significantly better HbA1c levels (an important measure of glucose in the blood), which is associated with better long term outcomes, such as reduced rates of kidney and eye disease, compared to the control group,” Associate Professor Furler said.

Thanks to these results, a further implementation study of the ‘Stepping Up’ model of care will be widened to include diabetes therapy generally and will be carried out in the North-West Melbourne Primary Health Network.

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