Coronavirus Update: Impact on Nursing Home Patients Learn More ›

Uncontrolled Blood Sugar in Diabetic Nursing Home Patients

blood-sugar-complication-lawsuit-nursing-homeIs your loved one a diabetic nursing Home patient and suffered irregular blood sugar levels, requiring quick intervention? Did your loved one pass away through a wrongful death caused by nursing staff negligence?

At the Nursing Home Law Center, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for nursing home residents and can help your family too. Contact our law firm at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free legal case review.

The elderly are at an increased risk of developing diabetes. When their numbers get too high, they can become very ill and may need to be admitted to the hospital. However, it is often recommended that diabetic nursing home residents not be admitted to the hospital because they do not eat well or manage blood sugar levels on their own.

Irregular blood sugar levels could cause the resident to become unresponsive due to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) there is little chance for quick intervention from medical staff unless someone reports his or her symptoms as soon as possible.

How People With Diabetes Keep Their Blood Glucose under Control

People with diabetes have to take special care of their blood glucose levels in order to avoid the onset of complications. Diabetes is a common condition that can be managed with careful attention to diet and exercise.

For those who suffer from diabetes, it’s important to keep blood glucose levels in check. Here are some tips for how people with diabetes can maintain healthy blood glucose levels:

  • Keep your intake of sugar low
  • Maintain a balanced, steady diet and exercise routine (exercising at least 30 minutes three times per week)
  • Monitor your weight by eating healthily and exercising regularly; if you notice changes in your body weight or shape consult a doctor immediately.
  • Take diabetes medications as prescribed by the doctor. There are many different types of medications available which may include insulin injections, oral tablets, nasal sprays, or eye drops. Ask your doctor more about the medication that’s right for you.
  • If you are a woman, ask your doctor if taking contraceptives might affect your glucose levels.
What Could Happen If Blood Glucose Sugar Levels Remain High Over Time?

Over several years of uncontrolled diabetes, people may suffer from a condition called retinopathy, which damages the retina. Symptoms of retinopathy include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Floaters in the field of vision
  • Loss of peripheral vision (side vision)

The development and progression of other diabetes complications may be affected by the state of your blood glucose levels during this time as well. Complications that may worsen with high blood glucose levels include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Impaired renal function
  • Cardiovascular and microvascular complications
  • Digestive and kidney diseases
  • Persistent pain
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Limited life expectancy
  • Premature death
  • Heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. When high glucose levels are uncontrolled for a long period of time, it can lead to more severe complications like neuropathy (nerve damage) which causes pain and numbness in the hands and feet (particularly in the toes).
Who is at Risk of Uncontrolled Diabetes?

People are at an increased risk of developing uncontrolled diabetes if they have any of the following health conditions:

  • A family history of diabetes; People who have a parent or sibling with diabetes are more likely to develop the condition than those without a family history.
  • Metabolic syndrome (a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity)
  • Overweight or obese (excess fat around the waist, upper back, and neck)
  • Race and ethnicity (Hispanic Americans are more likely to develop diabetes than non-Hispanics; African American adults with diabetes are twice as likely to have complications from their condition, compared to Caucasians)
  • Age (diabetes is most common in people aged 45 years and older)
  • Previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes, a condition that affects pregnant women who have never had diabetes before (gestational diabetes usually goes away after the birth of the baby).
Diabetes Management Among Elderly Diabetic Patients

In recent years, the incidence of diabetes has increased drastically among elderly patients. Patients with diabetes are more likely to suffer from a variety of other conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

The risk for developing diabetic complications is also higher in older people with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Managing their condition can be difficult due to age-related changes in metabolism, which will make it harder for them to control blood sugar levels through dietary changes or exercise alone.

In order to identify risks associated with glycemic management of diabetes among elderly diabetic patients, researchers at Yale University Medical School conducted a study using data from Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and over between 2006 and 2010 who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the past 5 years.

The data revealed that nearly 12% of all diabetic patients were over the age of 65. Within this group, researchers found that over half (54%) were not currently receiving treatment for their diabetes and a staggering 38% of all elderly diabetic patients had uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

What is the Link Between High Blood Sugar Levels and Dementia?

Although dementia occurs in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes mellitus at a similar rate, many researchers believe that the underlying causes are different.

In Type 1 diabetes patients, dementia may be a result of poor blood sugar control while in Type 2 diabetic patients, it can be related to chronic hyperinsulinemia (oversupply of insulin), which is believed to contribute to cognitive decline with age.

In a recent study, researchers found that for type 2 diabetics, particularly those with uncontrolled hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels), the risk of developing dementia is significantly higher.

Their study analyzed data from a cohort of elderly patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus within the past 5 years. Researchers followed participants and monitored their cognitive decline over time.

During this follow-up period, researchers found that patients who had uncontrolled hyperglycemia were at twice the risk for dementia compared to those with well-controlled glucose levels.

What is the Treatment Approach to Uncontrolled Diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association, International Diabetes Federation, and the Clinical Practice Guidelines, medical teams can improve diabetes management through effective means that can lower the risk of hypoglycemia and impaired fasting glucose to maximize life expectancy.

Currently, there are various treatments available for people with diabetes. Treatment for high blood sugar levels include:

  • Caring for your diabetes (including diet, weight management, exercise, and medication). In some cases, you may need insulin doses.
  • Take medications to control varying blood pressures and cholesterol levels using optimal medical management tools. These are also important to prevent diabetes complications in the long run.
  • Use proper foot care or other preventive healthcare measures to lower the risk of infections and injury that may lead to diabetic foot that increases emergency room visits.
  • Have your eyes checked regularly and ask for advice about possible eye problems that may affect the retina or macula (the central part of the retina responsible for detailed vision).
  • Visit your doctor regularly so he can monitor you for any complications from diabetes. If necessary, you'll need screening tests such as blood pressure, urinalysis, and fasting blood glucose.

The first step in the treatment of uncontrolled diabetes is a careful review of your medication regimen and making sure that you are taking the right amount of medications appropriate for your body weight as well as lifestyle factors such as stress level and physical activity.

If necessary, oral medications to lower blood sugar levels may be combined with insulin injections, especially for older adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Patients who have uncontrolled diabetes should also be regularly monitored for signs of complications such as heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular disease.

Older adults may also be referred to a dietitian or diabetes educator who will create an individualized meal plan that prioritizes foods that are low in fat, trans-fats, and cholesterol and high in fiber.

If lifestyle modifications (diet and increased physical activity) are not enough, you may need to inject insulin as part of your treatment.

If you take an oral hypoglycemic drug, your doctor may recommend changing it with a newer alternative that reduces the risk of low blood sugar while increasing the risk of high blood sugar.

As for the elderly population who have uncontrolled hyperglycemia, doctors may prescribe an anti-diabetic drug known as Metformin.

This drug inhibits glucose production in the liver and increases insulin sensitivity thereby reducing elevated blood sugar levels without increasing the risk of hypoglycemia episodes. Side effects of this drug include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Older adults who have kidney problems or heart failure should avoid this drug as it may worsen these conditions. The drug interactions are also known to reduce the amount of vitamin B12 in the body leading to a form of anemia (low red blood cells) and other chronic conditions.

However, researchers believe that because metabolic factors such as hyperglycemia increase the risk of dementia, it makes sense to go beyond traditional medications (including insulin doses and oral hypoglycemic drugs) in controlling blood sugar levels.

Researchers further emphasized that even though there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's Disease, it is crucial to managing risk factors such as diabetes to maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve the quality of life.

The Potential Negative Outcomes for Nursing Home Residents with Uncontrolled Diabetes

In an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA), researchers recommend that elderly patients who are living in nursing homes and have uncontrolled hyperglycemia should receive endocrinology care to manage their condition especially as it worsens over time.

Researchers also believe that this may prevent common diabetes-related complications such as heart attacks, strokes, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia, especially nocturnal hypoglycemia), and infections that may lead to diabetic foot.

This is crucial for elderly patients who are living in nursing homes because they have more limited access to medical care compared with people who live in their own homes.

Uncontrolled diabetes is a form of diabetes mellitus where the body either does not produce enough insulin or the body's cells do not respond to insulin thereby preventing glucose from entering these cells and converting it into energy. This results in elevated blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) which are harmful if uncontrolled.

The Results of Substandard Diabetes Mellitus Care in Nursing Homes

Nearly one-third of nursing home residents in the United States have diabetes, and it is estimated that more than half of these patients are not receiving appropriate care. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic lifelong disease that can lead to life-threatening complications if not managed properly.

The results of substandard diabetes mellitus care in nursing homes may be devastating for victims who suffer from this illness; however, there are ways to help prevent such tragedies.

Researchers have found that nearly one-third of the nursing home patient population with diabetes (31%) are not receiving appropriate care and that another one-third (33%) receive suboptimal care.

This means more than half of these patients are not receiving the best care for their condition which may put them at risk for symptomatic hyperglycemia-related complications such as infections, heart attacks, and strokes.

The researchers also found that African-American nursing home residents with uncontrolled diabetes or who receive substandard care for their condition are at greater risk of developing comorbidities such as hyperlipidemia, hypertension (high blood pressure), and obesity compared to Caucasians.

The study also found that these patients had a greater risk of suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) which is a serious condition that results from the build-up of toxic levels of ketones in the body.

The Importance of Insulin Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease Patients with Uncontrolled Diabetes

Many doctors now follow a simplified treatment regimen over the outdated sliding-scale insulin methods with a diabetes diet. According to the American Geriatric Society (AGS) recognizes that the sliding-scale insulin use remains prevalent in long-term care facilities even though it is related to poor glycemic control in a higher risk of CBG (capillary blood glucose).

Some researchers note that older people with uncontrolled diabetes are more likely to develop dementia, a chronic brain disorder that affects memory and other important mental functions.

These patients also had a much greater risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease compared with people who don't have uncontrolled diabetes mellitus which is consistent with research findings on the link between persistent hyperglycemia and dementia such as Alzheimer's Disease.

To manage such risks and help older patients residing in nursing homes with uncontrolled diabetes, researchers recommend that these patients should receive endocrinology care from competent clinical endocrinologists to manage their condition using a patient-centered approach.

How to Get the Right Diabetes Treatment for a Nursing Home Patient Who has Uncontrolled Diabetes?

If you have an elderly loved one who is living in a nursing home or any other type of care facility and you suspect that they are not receiving the appropriate care for their condition, you can contact our law firm today.

We have attorneys who may be able to help by looking into your case and finding out what medical evidence exists about the diabetic care your loved one received at the nursing home.

Lawsuits Regarding Diabetic Care in the Nursing Home

For decades, the elderly population in the United States has been growing, increasing the demand for nursing home beds. Along with this increase comes the need to locate quality care providers.

Unfortunately, some nursing homes and assisted living facilities are understaffed which may lead to poor care.

Some long-term care (LTC) patients who suffer serious medical conditions like diabetes are not receiving the appropriate treatment for their condition in these types of facilities, putting them at risk for complications such as infection and strokes.

Some examples:

  1. A former North Carolina resident who has diabetes and a prior history of amputation of his lower leg was transferred to an assisted living facility where staff failed to give him insulin injections for almost two weeks leading to serious harm. The man ended up with gangrene in his left foot which had to be surgically removed, forcing him into a nursing home afterward;
  2. A California resident with type 2 diabetes and dementia was left to wander the streets of Bakersfield, California when he wandered off from an assisted living facility where he was staying. He became lost and dehydrated as a result;
  3. In Tennessee, a 23-year-old man died after falling into a diabetic coma while in the care of the staff at an assisted living facility. He was found dead two days later. The man had been experiencing vomiting and diarrhea prior to his death, but the center's staff did not notify family members or seek medical attention;
  4. A former Texas resident who has type 2 diabetes filed a lawsuit against her new assisted living facility when she developed a urine infection that wasn't treated, forcing her to go to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a nasty fungal infection. The assisted living center was cited for failing to provide appropriate care and supervision;
  5. A North Carolina woman who has insulin-dependent diabetes filed a lawsuit against her assisted living facility when staff failed to give her insulin injections, which led to serious health problems including seizures, urinary tract infections, and a stroke.

In another case, a nursing home resident suffered from severe respiratory infections due to poor diabetic care. The staff at his nursing facility failed to provide him with the best medical care available, as they failed to follow his doctor's orders.

The neglect resulted in the patient being hospitalized and unable to breathe without the assistance of a ventilator machine. The patient's doctor never released him from the hospital and he required constant care upon his return.

He was admitted to several different nursing facilities but continued to experience new respiratory infections, and in some cases even developed pneumonia. The lack of adequate medical care at the facilities resulted in his further decline and deterioration overall.

To get the help your loved one deserves, it's essential that you know as much information about your case as possible including all the facts related to their care at the nursing home.

Unfortunately, seniors are more likely to suffer from memory-related issues such as dementia which may make them unable to tell you about the care they received.

This is when it becomes all the more important that you seek help from a skilled nursing home abuse attorney who has the ability to investigate your case and find out what evidence exists related to your loved one's diabetes care at the assisted living facility across the state where they are staying.

The Importance of Calling an Attorney

In many of these cases, the medical information that will be needed to prove your case is in the hands of doctors, nurse practitioners, or nurses who may not cooperate with you.

This is why it's so important to speak with a skilled nursing home abuse attorney right away instead of trying to take on the long-term care facility by yourself; our legal team can act as your private investigator.

If your loved one suffered serious injuries or harm as a result of poor care, our legal team can fight for the justice they deserve.

We are here to help you receive the money you need and deserve to recuperate from your injuries and move on with your life. Don't hesitate to call us today At (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) to schedule your free case evaluation with one of our experienced lawyers.

In addition to finding out what's going on, and providing legal representation, our lawyers can review your loved one's medical records to identify any problems and their diabetes care plan.

What Should a Diabetes Care Plan Include?

The nursing home facility is required to develop a diabetes care plan for every individual at risk for diabetes or other blood-related conditions.

Unfortunately, many care plans are missing the required diagnosis, treatment, medications, surgical interventions, and physical therapy required to maximize the resident’s well-being.

What are some examples of required care for elderly nursing home residents with diabetes at skilled nursing facilities?

  • Treatment, blood sugar testing, medications, and meals/snacks to manage their blood sugars.
  • Emergency treatment if the individual goes into diabetic shock, such as taking glucose or glucagon by mouth depending on what is prescribed in the plan.
  • Possible surgical procedures such as amputation, dialysis, or catheterization.
  • Physical therapy to help prevent falls and injuries that may occur due to low blood sugar levels or increased thirst.

In addition, someone with diabetes should be checked for the following symptoms:

  • Change in mental status: confusion/disorientation, cognitive dysfunction, cognitive impairment, common geriatric syndromes, functional disability, loss of appetite, excessive thirst and urination, or new-onset seizures.
  • Blurred vision and/or headaches that don't go away
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Diagnosed impaired insulin secretion, impaired glucose tolerance, and insulin resistance
  • Sores on their feet that won't heal or a change in their shoes or socks.

Remember, our attorneys investigate all aspects of your case to find the evidence needed to prove your case and win the money you deserve. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - Call us today for free legal advice at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number).

You can also visit our website to receive information on nursing homes in your area.

Find a Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Near Me

Do you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect that led to their diabetic condition worsening? Did the doctor fail to accurately diagnose and screen your family member to ensure they receive the best medical care available?

Call our law office today at (800) 926-7565 for immediate legal representation. Our legal team is here to help you receive the compensation needed in order to pay for your loved one's medical bills, physical therapy, and more.

Diabetes Self-Management Education And Support (DSMES) Program

The Diabetes Self-Management Education And Support (DSMES) Program is an initiative of the National Institutes of Health that aims to help older adults with diabetes manage their condition. The program offers individualized, structured support in person or online for those who are living with or managing diabetes.

The goal of this program is to reduce complications like heart disease and stroke, which can be caused by high blood sugar levels in diabetics. DSME also has resources for family members and caregivers on how they can provide care when needed.

DSMES workshops are offered across the country in different formats such as live presentations, webinars, podcasts, phone consultations, and more!

Targets for Glycemic Control

A study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine that found patients with diabetes who had acute injuries were more likely to die than those without.

The authors looked at whether higher glycemic control would affect mortality, and they found it did not. However, there are many other factors that can impact outcomes for these victims besides just high blood glucose levels.

Health care providers should be aware of this study when deciding how aggressively to treat serious hypoglycemia and severe hyperglycemia during their hospital stay.

It is important to remember that all diabetic patients have different needs depending on their individual circumstances, so treating them uniformly may not always be the best decision.

Monitoring Glycemic Control

Glycemic control is the measurement of how well an individual manages their blood sugar levels. The goal is to keep them in a range that does not cause any symptoms or complications.

It's important for people with diabetes to monitor their glycemic control so they can take preventative measures if it starts to get out of balance. Monitoring this can be done by tracking your food intake, exercise, and glucose level readings on a daily basis.

If you are diabetic, then you may need help from other sources such as doctors or dieticians to ensure that your glycemic control stays within the desired range.

Noninsulin Antihyperglycemic Agents

Many people are not aware of the dangers of noninsulin antihyperglycemic agents. As a result, these oral glucose-lowering agents may be given to long-term care residents who have diabetes and suffer from low blood sugar levels or they may be taken by those trying to lose weight.

These medications can lead to serious and sometimes fatal complications such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. This blog post is designed for people with diabetes and their care team in order to educate them on the dangers that this type of medication poses.

Emergency Planning For Diabetes Patients

There are many factors that can lead to diabetic emergencies such as severe hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). All of these can lead to serious consequences and even death if they are not treated immediately.

People need to plan for what would happen if they were in an emergency situation. These plans should include how they will be able to obtain medication, insulin, testing supplies, and even food when it's unavailable. A power of attorney designation is also important because it can help manage the person's finances if they are not able to do so themselves.

A plan like this is necessary, because it may prevent the diabetic patient from going into a diabetic coma that can lead to hospitalization or even death. If the person with diabetes has a caretaker who knows what should be done in case of an emergency, then they will be able to act quickly if something happens.

Frequent Testing For Diabetics

Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires frequent monitoring in order to prevent complications.

Testing can be done with a home glucose monitor or by visiting your doctor's office to check your blood sugar level. It is important for people with diabetes to know what their current levels are and how they respond to the food they eat. They will also need to monitor their blood pressure, cholesterol level, and weight over time.

Hemoglobin A1C Test

Hemoglobin A1C is a blood test that measures the average level of sugar in your blood over the past three months. It can help screen for diabetes or diagnose prediabetes. If you are injured, you may be concerned about how this test will affect your recovery time or insurance coverage.

Hemoglobin A1C tests measure the amount of sugar in a person’s bloodstream by examining hemoglobins (a type of protein found mainly in red blood cells) with a blood sample. The test is typically done every three months and measures the average amount of sugar in your blood over the past three months. The results can help screen for diabetes or diagnose prediabetes.

Home Blood Sugar Monitoring

Home blood sugar monitoring is a process of checking your glucose levels at home to see how different foods and activities affect them. You can use this information to help manage diabetes or other health conditions that require you to monitor blood sugar levels.

The best way for people with these conditions to keep track of their daily sugars is by using a glucometer, which helps the user measure their glucose level in order to find out if they need more insulin or not.

Home Blood Sugar Monitoring Information: 

  • How do I use my meter?
  • What should I eat before testing?
  • Is there anything else I should know before doing it?
  • What if I don't get the results I expected from my test?

Answers to these questions could help families better understand how to care for their diabetic family members.

Hire a Diabetic Injury Lawyer to Resolve Your Compensation Case Involving Nursing Home Injuries

Was your loved one harmed by the nursing staff that failed to regulate their blood sugar levels resulting in a diabetic coma or another preventable injury? At the Nursing Home Law Center, our nursing abuse and neglect attorneys are legal advocates for family members of victims injured in nursing homes nationwide.

If you believe that your family member was harmed, won't you let our legal team help? Fill out our free case review form today to schedule or call us at (800) 925-7565.

Our lawyers can explain how state laws apply to your case and what options are available. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Our law office accepts all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits through contingency fee agreements. This promise ensures you will pay nothing until you resolve your case through a jury verdict or negotiated settlement.

Client Reviews

★★★★★
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
★★★★★
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric