Deakin University

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Nurses and personal attendants' diabetes knowledge : in regional public residential care

conference contribution
posted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Bodil RasmussenBodil Rasmussen, Patricia Dunning, Sally Savage, Sally Wellard
Aim: Identify staff knowledge about diabetes medicines and organisational factors that influence safe medicines use in two large Australian regional public RACs that comply with national accreditation standards.

Background: Diabetes management is complicated in residential aged care facilities (RAC). Managing medicines is complex, especially in older people. Little is known about diabetes-specific medicine knowledge of various care staff (registered nurses (RN), enrolled nurses (EN) and patient care attendants (PCA) working in RAC.

Methods: A triangulation of methods was used to collect the data: anonymous self-complete questionnaire (ADKnowl) staff interviews to clarify practice issues that could affect safe medicine use, and a case file audit to identify medicine-related data. Questionnaires were distributed to all RNs, ENs and PCAs in the two services via nursing management (N=540). The ADKnowl was supplemented with additional questions and vignettes derived from actual case notes in each RAC to assess translation of knowledge into practice. Only medicine related data are reported.

Results: Sixty-eight people returned completed questionnaires (12.5% response rate). Knowledge deficits were identified in administering oral hypoglycaemic agents and insulin, their action and potential adverse events. Most ENs and PCAs did not know why HbA1c was measured. Almost half the RNs and ENs and 80% of PCAs did not know how diabetes comorbidities affect medicine choices. RN achieved higher overall average knowledge scores,74.3%, compared to ENs and PCA, 49%. The interviews suggest lack of time, unclear communication processes, inadequate knowledge about medications and resident behaviour compromises optimal medicine administration. Twenty case files audits were undertaken in each RAC and revealed residents were taking on average nine medicines.

Conclusion: Staff involved in caring for residents with diabetes had suboptimal general and medicine-specific diabetes knowledge to deliver optimal care. System issues and unpredictable resident behaviours made medicine management difficult and compromised safety.



International Council of Nurses Conference (25th : 2013 : Melbourne, Vic.)


International Council of Nurses


Melbourne, Vic.

Place of publication

[Melbourne, Vic.]

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Publication classification

E3 Extract of paper; E Conference publication

Title of proceedings

Proceedings of the ICN 25th Quadrennial Congress : equity and access to healthcare

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