Diabetes Management According to Health Status in Older Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Staying in Geriatric Care Facilities

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Digital Healthcare Solutions

Libiseller A, Lichtenegger KM, de Campo A, Wiesinger T, Cuder G, Donsa K , Höll B, Beck P, Plank J, Schippinger W, Pieber TR

Journal of Diabetes science and technology , 2/2020


Background: About 25% of adults >70 years suffer from type 2 diabetes. Due to the heterogeneity of the geriatric population, guidelines emphasize the need to individualize glycemic goals and simplify treatment strategies with the main focus of avoiding hypoglycemia. The aim of this study was to assess glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes in geriatric care facilities based on their individual health status.


Methods: 170 medical records of older adults with type 2 diabetes in geriatric care facilities were retrospectively assessed (64.7% female, age 80 ± 9 years; glycated hemoglobin 6.8% ± 3.6% [51 ± 16 mmol/mol]; body mass index 27.9 ± 5.8 kg/m2). Based on the individual health status, patients were allocated to three groups (healthy n = 27, complex n = 86, and poor n = 57).


Results: The overall blood glucose (BG) value was highest in the poor health group with 188 ± 47 mg/dL (poor) vs 167 ± 42 mg/dL (complex) vs 150 ± 34 mg/dL (healthy). BG values of 1.6% (poor) vs 2.8% (complex) vs 1.5% (healthy) of patients were below 90 mg/dL. 36.8% (poor) vs 23.4% (complex) vs 18.5% (healthy) of patients received insulin as the main diabetes therapy, but of these only 14.3% (poor) vs 20% (complex) vs 40% (healthy) were treated with basal insulin.


Conclusions: Overall, BG values were higher in the poor and complex health group. There were a few low BG values in all groups. Although recommended by international guidelines, basal insulin therapy with its low complexity and low hypoglycemic risk is still underused, especially in the poor health group. Therefore, simplification of diabetes therapy should be considered further.

Keywords: algorithm; clinical decision support; diabetes therapy; digitalization; elderly; quality of care.