05 Jul 2022

Tullamore Hospital in important end of life care initiative

Tullamore hospital new

The Midland Regional Hospital at Tullamore

New recommendations on caring for patients with diabetes who are approaching their end of life, have been launched jointly by the Midland Regional Hospitals in Tullamore, Portlaoise and The Regional Hospital in Mullingar together with The Community Diabetes Nurse Team covering Longford, Westmeath, Laois and Offaly.

The recommendations are the first of their kind in Ireland. They provide guidance on the principles of high-quality diabetes care for patients who are palliative, by liberalising the goals of care, simplification of treatment and reduction of medication burden.

Mr Michael Cushen, Consultant in Palliative Care Medicine at the Midland Regional Hospitals in Tullamore and Portlaoise said, “In Ireland, diabetes care towards the end of life is an area lacking in quality standards and guidance on best clinical practice. In the past we have used UK guidelines to direct care. These new recommendations will place an emphasis on less stringent blood glucose and HbA1c values for glucose approaching end of life, while at the same time avoiding the patient struggling with blood sugars that are too high or too low.”

Siobhan Meehan Clinical Nurse Specialist in Diabetes for Longford and Westmeath and Chair of the Diabetes Steering Group said, “This important new advice will help us ensure our patients who at palliative have the best quality of life possible. Our goal moves from prevention of long term complications to symptom control, as patients with diabetes approach their end of life. Our key concern, is always what’s in the best interest of the patient, at that particular moment.”

Demelza Dooner Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Diabetes at Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore said, “Being given a terminal diagnosis is usually a seismic shock to patients and their families, and they will need a huge amount of support.  We are certain these recommendations will help to make their final days more comfortable, and that they will be able to accept less strict control of their diabetes where appropriate.”

Georgina Doyle Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Diabetes at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise said, “The aim of the recommendations is to promote a consistent high-quality approach to diabetes care towards the end of life. The new guidelines suggest this should be achieved with the least invasive testing and minimum effective amount of medication.”

Mairead Walsh Clinical Nurse Specialist Diabetes, at the Regional Hospital in Mullingar said, “We are proud to present these recommendations which we feel will greatly enhance the quality of life of patients with diabetes and a terminal illness, and will also give healthcare professional greater confidence in dealing with such patients.”

The recommendations have been produced jointly by the Midlands Diabetes Nurse Specialist Group and the Midland Palliative Care Services.

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