People with diabetes, heart problems have trouble managing health

December 19th, 2008 - 12:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Dec 19 (IANS) A quarter of Type 2 diabetes patients hospitalised with a heart problem were readmitted within 28 days, compared to just six percent of coronary patients who did not have diabetes. Jo Wu, from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) of School of Nursing, discovered during her latest study that people who have diabetes and a heart condition often find it difficult to manage both, leading to a high number of hospital readmissions.

Wu, who has worked in intensive care and coronary care units for 16 years, has developed a programme to help the many patients who lacked the confidence to self-manage their dual conditions.

“For example one patient who was in his 50s admitted he was too scared to check his blood sugar level because he had never done it himself, and as a consequence he failed to properly manage either his diabetic or coronary conditions effectively,” Wu said.

“He suffered a heart attack and was taken to hospital where he saw an 80-year-old woman administering her own insulin and realised he needed to overcome his fear.”

Wu used her study to look at the readmission rates of Type 2 diabetes patients with heart problems and develop an educational programme, the Cardiac-Diabetes Self-management Programme, for use in hospitals and homes to help empower patients to effectively manage their conditions, said a QUT release.

“By empowering people you strengthen their self-confidence levels which in turn will provide them with the motivation to change their lifestyle,” she said.

“By reducing the risk of readmission to hospital we also reduce the strain on hospital staff who are already burdened by the shortage of beds and staff in these specialist care units,” she said.

Trials of Wu’s programme have been successful.

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