Diabetes Care: What to Expect in the Hospital
It is important to have your blood sugar levels controlled when you are in the hospital. This is because, in such a setting, the chances of glucose/sugar levels to rising is higher, more so if you are a diabetic. The stress of being admitted, the various tests to be done, the worry about medical bills, the concern about how the family is doing without you; can shoot one’s glucose/sugar level.
When you are being treated for an illness or injury at a hospital, diabetes care becomes an important part of your overall treatment. After all the effectiveness of the treatment depends on how effective management of your blood sugar levels is.
What to expect at the hospital?
Diagnostic tests will indicate your glucose/sugar levels being on the higher side if you are a diabetic. Still, it is your duty to let the medical team know about your diabetic condition. Make sure that the medical team is informed about what type of diabetes you have, the current level of glucose/sugar levels and any other diabetes- related complications.
The hospital personnel will regularly monitor your routine glucose or sugar level; the results will be provided to each of the attendant staff who is responsible for your treatment. Timely insulin doses are also given to lower the high sugar levels. In case, you are given steroid-type of drugs that can increase your blood sugar levels, there are adjustments made to the insulin doses accordingly.
As a part of diagnostic services, hospitals ask you to have a diabetic screening test called HbA1c test, if a recent test result for this type of test is not available. This gives information to the doctor about your current glucose/sugar level.
Insulin is usually the preferred drug in a hospital setting for diabetic patients. There are two methods involved in administering insulin – IV (Intravenous) and subcutaneous insulin. The IV insulin delivery is also known as ‘insulin drip’ and is often given when a person is critically ill, is having a heart surgery or a major surgery, an organ transplant, cannot consume food by mouth; etc. Subcutaneous insulin is insulin given through an injection under the skin, normally patients for people who are not critically ill or undergoing a major procedure.
One has to note that because of various diagnostic tests and procedures that are done, the schedules for meals and insulin cannot be the same on all days. The hospital staff will continually monitor your blood glucose levels. For patients who eat, the monitoring is before every meal and before going to sleep at night. In the case, the patient is not able to eat; the monitoring is done every four-six hours.
Nutritionists in the hospital will check the recommended dietary intake that is needed to be given to the diabetic patient. For instance, there is a food plan for the optimum amount of carbohydrates to be given to the patient. He or she can decide on the choices of meals but the condition is that they should add up to the total amount of carbohydrate intake per meal, and not exceed it. In case, there is a surgery, the dieticians will accordingly plan a ‘clear liquid’ meal, as a part of the pre-operative procedure.
Before leaving the hospital
A registered nutritionist or dietician who is aware of the effect of food on glucose/sugar levels will advise you on eating right at home. The dietician in conjunction with the medical team will create a customized meal plan for you. You can also check with her if you can return to her for further counseling on nutrition and dietary management. In most cases, the nutritionists will be happy to extend their services on a long-term basis. Also, check with the doctor about how you can maintain blood glucose levels once you are home.
Contact a diagnostic service center for more information on diabetic screening and other tests for blood-sugar levels.