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Guide to Diabetes

What care to expect whilst you are in Hospital 

LRI - UHL original

You may be admitted to hospital for reasons related or unrelated to your diabetes. In hospital, responsibility for the management of diabetes should be shared between you and the health professionals. Good diabetes control is important for a speedy recovery and early discharge.

You should:

  • Receive a full explanation of your treatment during your stay in hospital and have the opportunity to discuss any particular worries. - If you do not receive an explanation, ask for it.
  • Inform the ward team of your usual diet, tablets or insulin treatment. Bring your own supplies with you — if they are removed for safe keeping, make sure that they are returned to you at the end of your stay.
  • Have access to the hospital diabetes care team — doctor, nurse, state registered dietitian and podiatrist. Make sure they know you have been admitted.
  • Be allowed to discuss your diabetes so you can manage some aspects of it yourself, such as blood/urine monitoring and injections, if you wish — however, the staff may need to check your technique and results and they may need to do additional tests of their own.
  • If you are treated by insulin, expect that it may be given via a glucose/insulin drip into a vein if for some reason you are not allowed to eat or drink. If you are having anaesthetic an anaesthetist will arrange care of your diabetes during and immediately following the operation.
  • If you are treated by tablets, be prepared that your treatment may need to be changed while you are in hospital, which may involve being transferred from tablets to insulin during your stay.
  • Expect to be able to use your own emergency supplies of biscuits, sugary drinks, fruit or glucose tablets to treat hypoglycaemia if you are on insulin or sulphonylurea tablets — you should bring these supplies with you. If you do experience a hypo, inform your nurse or doctor.
  • Expect to be informed and consulted about any changes in your treatment or diet which may be necessary during your stay in hospital — for example, if you have Type 2 diabetes you will sometimes be temporarily treated with injections of insulin while in hospital. This will be because your illness or operation has upset their diabetes control. 
  • If you are unsure about the treatment or diet you are receiving in hospital, speak to your doctor, nurse or registered dietitian.

  • If English is not your first language, hospital staff should bring in an interpreter and involve family members and friends where appropriate.

Ref: Diabetes UK 


Your Care in Hospital

Diabetes UK information leaflet Download Document