The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has almost doubled in the last twenty years, increasing from 1.9 million in 1998 to 3.7 million today with 92,480 in Northern Ireland. In Ireland, the total number of people living with diabetes is estimated to be 225,840. Many adults with diabetes have at least one comorbid chronic condition and as many as 40% have at least three. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that people with diabetes are more likely to be admitted to hospital than people without diabetes, with further excessive comparative length of stay once admitted. The increased prevalence of diabetes and its reciprocal negative effect on costs for health services is concerning. This study is exploring the use of Freestyle Libre in inpatient diabetes care to improve clinical decision making and patient safety through the potential stabilisation of glucose levels and in time, reduction of length of stay and healthcare utilization.
Material & Methods
A descriptive, developmental mixed methods study using both qualitative and quantitative approaches with two phases consisting of a retrospective data audit and feasibility study with trial-based economic evaluation. This study is being conducted across 3 sites – Raigmore Hospital (NHS Highland), Altnagelvin Area Hospital (Western Trust) and Letterkenny University Hospital (Saolta Healthcare Group). A retrospective examination of 3 databases examined diabetes related unscheduled admissions for 2013-2017. Patient interviews (n=36) to supplement the quantitative data are underway.
The average yearly unscheduled admissions to NHS Highland (1,695) and AAH (1,341) were primarily due to hyperglycaemia and lower limb complications. Average yearly unscheduled admissions to LUH (1,528) were largely due to poorly controlled diabetes and resulted in an average length of stay of 8.5 days. With LUH having the highest prevalence of diabetes (6%) across the sites and a population almost half that of the other sites, further analysis of the data is required.
The results confirm that this is an important area for further investigation. The next step is to merge the data when the data sharing agreement is signed by all partners.
- Diabetes Mellitus
- length of stay