HELPING HAND: Professor Alan Sinclair
A LEADING professor has claimed older people with diabetes are being “let down” and “overlooked” by the system – prompting new international guidance outlining a ground-breaking model for how they should be treated.
Professor Alan Sinclair, at the Foundation for Diabetes Research in Older People at Diabetes Frail, says the document makes a series of recommendations to help doctors and nurses treat the over 70s who have diabetes and who may also suffer from other conditions linked to physical weakness.
This is the first time guidance has been published internationally on the subject, and those involved have called for a “clear focus on patient safety” and early recognition of the deterioration of a person’s health as part of the overhaul.
Professor Sinclair said: “Frailty is now recognised as a new complication of diabetes in ageing populations and needs to be a priority for action.
“This is because frailty leads to excess disability in diabetes leading to earlier institutionalisation, decreased quality of life, and premature death. Yet early prevention and management should lead to longer, healthier lives.
“Quite simply older people with diabetes developing frailty are being let down and overlooked by the system.
“It is part of a wider problem as generally older people with diabetes were often overlooked and over medicated, but we now need to give them the care and attention they deserve.”
The document lays out a specific model for those working in primary, secondary and community care to help them understand how to prevent frailty and ensure the early management of the condition.
The prevalence of diabetes is increasing among people between the ages of 60 to 79 years, and frailty may be present in up to one in four.
The guidance was unveiled in the UK at the 4th National Conference of the Older People’s Diabetes Network (OPDN), which is chaired by Professor Sinclair.