Diabetic Care in Nursing Homes

Diabetic Care in Nursing Homes


  • Up to 34% of nursing home residents in the U.S. have diabetes.
  • Nursing home facilities must provide diabetic care for residents, including regular blood sugar monitoring, personalized diet plans, medication management, and attentive foot care.
  • Many nursing homes fail to provide adequate care, with telltale signs including poor monitoring, inadequate meal planning, and unexplained injuries.
  • If you suspect that a loved one with diabetes is experiencing neglect or abuse in a nursing home, a nursing home neglect attorney can help you protect their rights and well-being.

Diabetes is a major health issue affecting 11.3% of the U.S. population and poses an even greater risk for those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. One recent study found that between 20% and 34% of long-term care facility residents in the U.S. have diabetes.

If you have a loved one with diabetes in a nursing home, it’s important to know what type of care is required for adequate nursing home diabetes management. This can help you advocate for your loved one and ensure their rights and health are protected.

Diabetes Care Issues in Nursing Homes

When nursing home staff fail to provide proper care, it can lead to comorbidities and complications that threaten the well-being of your loved one. The consequences of poor diabetic nursing care include:

  • Cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s disease. Diabetes can speed up cognitive decline, making daily self-care and medication management difficult.
  • Risk of amputations. Poor blood flow and nerve damage make feet and legs vulnerable to infections, sometimes necessitating amputations.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Diabetes increases the risk of heart issues, requiring additional medications and lifestyle changes to keep the heart healthy.
  • Depression and anxiety. Feeling down or anxious can lead to poor self-care, complicating diabetes management.
  • Falls. Lowered mobility due to neuropathy and the risk of low blood sugar increases the likelihood of falls and related injuries.
  • High blood pressure. This common issue must be managed alongside diabetes, which can worsen heart and kidney conditions.
  • Strokes. Seniors with diabetes are more susceptible to strokes. This may require preventive measures such as blood thinners or lifestyle changes to reduce stroke risk.
  • Urinary incontinence. Issues with bladder control can become more pronounced due to diabetes-related complications, affecting dignity and quality of life.
  • Lower life expectancy. Poorly managed diabetes can reduce life expectancy and lead to premature death, underlining the importance of comprehensive care.

What Should Diabetic Patient Care Plans Include?

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities owe a duty of care to their residents, which includes proper nursing care for diabetic patients. The goal of diabetes management in nursing home is to help patients manage their condition and provide adequate care that should include:

  • Regular blood glucose monitoring. Staff and medical providers must regularly check the blood sugar levels of diabetic residents to stay within a safe range. This helps avoid low or high blood sugar issues and allows tracking of long-term treatment effectiveness through A1C levels.
  • Nutritional planning. Assisted living staff must help diabetic patients carefully monitor their intake of carbohydrates, fat, and cholesterol to ensure blood glucose remains within a safe range. Meal planning can also help address low blood sugar levels, for example, by providing high-sugar foods to treat hypoglycemia.
  • Medication management. Staff must administer insulin at the proper times to combat hyperglycemia. Nursing care plans for diabetics may include other medications, such as metformin for Type 2 diabetes.
  • Foot care. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends diabetic individuals receive proper, daily foot care. Diabetes causes nerve damage, numbness, or an absence of pain and feeling in the feet, which means patients may not realize their feet are damaged. Nursing home staff must provide regular foot checks to check for blisters.
  • Stringent infection controls. Equipment to monitor a patient’s blood glucose levels or inject insulin must follow strict infection controls. A nursing home facility must ensure these items are never shared with other patients and are always properly cleaned, disinfected, or disposed of accordingly.
  • Fall prevention measures. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), people with low blood sugar are at a higher risk of losing balance and falling. Diabetes protocols in nursing home facilities must include providing reasonable accommodations to prevent falls, such as call lights within easy reach, extra supervision for ambulatory patients, and exercise programs.
  • End-of-life care plan. End-of-life care plans should closely monitor blood glucose levels, medication adjustments, and provide emotional support for patients and their families.

Signs of Poor Diabetic Care in a Nursing Home

If your loved one has diabetes and lives in a California nursing home, they require specialized care from staff and medical providers. Unfortunately, inadequate diabetic care does occur in some facilities.

If you notice any of the following signs of poor diabetic care, consult a nursing home abuse attorney to protect your loved one’s rights. Common signs of diabetic patient neglect and abuse include:

  • Frequent blood sugar fluctuations. Consistent highs or lows in blood sugar readings may indicate inadequate monitoring or medication management.
  • Untreated foot sores. Lack of daily foot inspections can lead to untreated sores or infections, a red flag for neglect.
  • Missed medication. If a resident often misses insulin shots or other medications, this is a sign of poor medication management.
  • Unplanned weight changes. Rapid weight gain or loss may suggest that meal planning isn’t tailored to a resident’s diabetic needs.
  • Recurrent infections. Frequent urinary or skin infections can indicate poor hygiene and infection control practices.
  • Frequent falls. If a resident experiences multiple falls, this could indicate poor blood sugar management or a lack of fall prevention measures.
  • Inadequate record-keeping. Incomplete or inconsistent logs of blood sugar readings, medication timings, and meals could suggest poor care.
  • Signs of depression or anxiety. If your loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, it could be related to poor blood sugar level regulation or lack of hygiene care.
  • Lack of individualized care plans. The absence of a tailored approach to each resident’s diabetic care needs may indicate a lack of comprehensive care.
  • Unexplained hospital visits. Frequent trips to the hospital for diabetes-related complications could indicate poor ongoing management.

Steps to Take if You Suspect Diabetic Care Neglect

If you suspect your diabetic loved one is suffering from neglect or abuse by a nursing home facility in California, taking immediate action can help preserve their health and well-being.

Gather Evidence of Abuse or Neglect

Before contacting the authorities and filing a complaint, gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. Examples of evidence that can help you prove neglect and abuse include:

  • Photographs and medical records detailing unexplained injuries
  • Blood sugar level logs
  • Medical prescriptions
  • Copies of the facility’s rules, policies, and procedures the staff failed to follow
  • Statements from witnesses who have observed incidents
  • Testimonies from independent medical experts

File a Complaint to the CDPH

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) enforces the California Health and Safety Codes. The CDPH allows anyone to file a complaint against a healthcare facility in California on behalf of a resident, including nursing homes and assisted living centers.

If you suspect your diabetic family member or loved one has been neglected, abused, or received insufficient diabetic care, use the CDPH’s online portal to file a complaint.

Provide your name, the name of the abused or neglected loved one, the dates and times of each incident, the name and address of the facility they resided, and the evidence you gathered.

Contact a Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

If your diabetic family member or loved one has been abused or neglected by nursing home staff, you have legal options. Seek the help of an expert nursing home neglect lawyer to discuss the situation and explore all potential legal actions.

A nursing home neglect lawyer will help you and your loved one navigate the law, provide assistance in building your case, and advise you on the most effective legal action.

They can offer expert legal guidance and, if needed, help you file a lawsuit against the nursing home to support your loved one’s rights, secure the compensation they deserve, and bring them justice and peace of mind.

Protect Your Loved Ones’ Rights and Well-Being

Taking measures to investigate and report their lack of care can prevent further harm to your loved one. Reporting abuse and neglect can also help protect other vulnerable residents.