Emergency help for diabetics in hospital

Joseph Bulmer

Reassurance for patients on the wards

HOSPITALS in North Devon are being equipped with ‘“hypoboxes” to treat patients with diabetes whose blood-glucose levels fall to potentially-dangerous levels.

The initiative by Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust means that everything from sugary food and drink to cannulae and intravenous infusions will be instantly available.

Around 15 per cent of adult in-patients are diabetic – typically 30 or 40 people at North Devon District Hospital alone at any one time.

With national survey work suggesting that many diabetic patients are worried about going into hospital, the boxes will provide added reassurance as well as strengthening care.

The 50 boxes were provided by the North Devon Diabetes Support Group in memory of Fiona Stoate, former NDDH midwife and a diabetic since childhood, who died in 2006.

Clinical areas with the greatest need, such as A&E and Staples Ward, will have more than one box. All boxes will be sealed. Once used, they will be restocked and resealed for the next use.

The boxes are being introduced in all North Devon’s community hospitals as well as NDDH.

Their introduction is the culmination of nearly two years’ work for the diabetes nurses, Pauline Budge, Vanessa Farrington and Tina Sommerville, dietitian Ellie Williams, consultants Ian Lewin and Alastair Watt, and Frances Goodhind from Pharmacy.

Pauline Budge said: “It’s a very simple idea but exciting to see it finally put into practice after all the hard work. It’s been a real team effort.

“We’re very grateful to the support group for making this all happen, as well as to Wilkinson’s of Barnstaple, who gave us such a good deal on the boxes.”

Training sessions for staff on the boxes and guidelines have been running since early November.