Hypo Awareness week was again a big success at Epsom Hospital. The diabetes specialist nurse team were keen to raise awareness because they realised they were being called to wards every day to see patients who had experienced a hypoglycaemic event.
Most of the time they found hypos were related to the patient not having a carbohydrate snack before bedtime. So they used their findings as an opportunity to educate the nursing staff about the importance of ensuring the patients taking insulin or Sulfonylurea medication have been offered a bedtime carbohydrate snack.
The introduction of Hypo Awareness week has made hypoglycaemia a more recognised event that nurses, in the past, did not really see the risk factors of. They also did not see the need to be educated on how to prevent and treat them, but the hypo booklets and t-shirts the team wore around the hospital increased awareness to both staff and patients.
Many patients and their carers were also involved in the week because staff gave them the information about the reasons why hypoglycaemia sometimes occurs. They also ensured the patients who drive were made aware of the risks of sulfonylurea being taken without food and the new DVLA guidelines on driving and hypoglycaemia. They reiterated the need for testing their blood glucose before getting behind the wheel of their car and the need to carry quick acting glucose in their car.
Hypo Awareness Week allowed nursing staff at Epsom Hospital to start a conversation with their patient and their carers about hypoglycaemia. It also helped provide support to the nursing and medical staff, which is crucial in giving them the confidence to prevent and treat inpatient hypoglycaemic events.