Diabetes service supports homeless and vulnerable people with help of Diabetes Champions

The Bolton NHS Foundation Trust Diabetes Service has made great strides in their efforts to support Bolton’s homeless and vulnerable population. The service provides health screening, diabetes toolkits, blood and glucose level testing, specialist referrals and community support to this hard to reach population and works closely with Bolton’s Diabetes Champions to raise awareness about the condition.

After looking into some of the issues surrounding diabetes and homeless and vulnerable people by shadowing nursing teams in hostels, the Diabetes Service identified a need in this population for earlier identification of diabetes, regular follow ups and prevention support for those at risk of the condition.  

The team stepped in with increased provision including point of care testing for HBA1c (glycated haemoglobin), follow ups out in the community, medication reviews and direct referrals to retinal screeners and the foot screening team for ad hoc appointments. They also set up additional blood screening for A&E patients with no fixed abode to test HBA1c and lipids and identify anyone at risk or with diabetes. This information is then passed on to their GP or Health Improvement Practitioner so follow ups can be arranged.

The team also links in with the Diabetes Champions, volunteers who work with harder to reach community groups and organisations and, more recently, homeless and vulnerable people, to help provide information to on diabetes prevention and management. The Champions have been helping the team to identify anyone who could be at risk of having diabetes. They have also been using their skills to help spread awareness about the prevention and management of diabetes amongst the residents and staff at hostels across Bolton.

Since the Diabetes service started their work with the homeless and vulnerable population, they have helped navigate three people through all nine of the diabetes care processes.

“It is vital that we help our homeless and vulnerable population better understand the risks and impact of diabetes, particularly when regular doctor visits and medicine management are more difficult to maintain.” Said Lynne Bromley, Diabetes Specialist Nurse, NMP.

“The Diabetes Service and the Diabetes Champions are helping to ensure that a number of people who may not have been aware of their condition or who may have struggled to manage their condition will now have access to key tools and support and the knowledge to better understand what diabetes means to them.”

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