Collaborative ‘virtual ward’ approach may improve outcomes for older diabetes patients
medwireNews: An initiative involving “virtual ward” meetings between diabetes specialist nurses, community nurses, and consultants has led to improvements in glycemic control and a reduction in nurse visits among older diabetes patients in North East Essex, study results suggest.
Presenting the results at the 2018 Diabetes UK Professional Conference in London, Ceri Jagger (North East Essex Diabetes Service, Colchester, UK) explained that the virtual ward was developed in response to regular ambulance calls to care homes, with the aim of reviewing the suitability of medication regimes and educating community nurses about insulin.
Mean glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels increased from 44 mmol/mol at baseline to 66 mmol/mol after 6 months of the initiative among patients who were at risk for hypoglycemia (HbA1c <53 mmol/mol), and decreased from 88 mmol/mol at baseline to 68 mmol/mol among patients with elevated HbA1c (>65 mmol/mol).
Jagger said that the virtual ward has reviewed 145 of 188 patients across the region who required community nurse visits at the beginning of the study for insulin administration, resulting in improved diabetes control in 112 patients, and 1446 community nurse visits saved over an 18-month period.
She concluded that staff feedback has been “very positive,” and the virtual ward is resulting in “long-lasting improvements to patient safety and the quality of service that is offered.”
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