Leaflet supports patients with diabetes to stay healthy in the lead-up to surgery

Patient leaflet for people with diabetes awaiting surgery

A leaflet to help patients with diabetes stay healthy in the lead-up to elective surgery has been produced in association with one of GIRFT’s clinical leads.

Professor Gerry Rayman MBE, a consultant diabetologist at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust and GIRFT joint clinical lead for diabetes, worked with surgeons, anaesthetists and staff in pre-operative assessment units to develop the guide, which encourages patients to maintain healthy glucose levels, keep their feet healthy, reduce stress levels and take part in healthy activities while they wait for surgery.

Around 330,000 procedures are carried out on patients with diabetes in the UK annually, and their length of stay in hospital is on average three days longer than patients without diabetes.

With the COVID-19 pandemic increasing waiting times for some operations, the leaflet aims to ensure patients use the time to get their mind and body in the best possible condition for surgery. This in turn can reduce the time they stay in hospital, reduce their chance of complications or infections and speed up healing time.

The leaflet has resulted from the IP3D project (Improve the Perioperative Pathway for Patients with Diabetes), which was successfully developed by Prof Rayman and his colleagues at Ipswich Hospital, part of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT). Based on the concept of a perioperative passport which empowers the patient by giving them all the necessary information required before, during and after their operation, the pathway is supported by a perioperative diabetes specialist nurse (PeriopDSN) who educates and supports patients and works to improve diabetes education among surgical staff.

GIRFT is now supporting the delivery of the IP3D project to ten further pilot trusts, to see if the benefits realised at Ipswich Hospital can be replicated. 

PeriopDSNs in the IP3D pilot sites felt that an interactive leaflet, sent to people with diabetes when they are first listed for surgery, would help to ensure patients were better prepared for surgery. The pilot trusts are now linking in with their primary care teams or trust surgical waiting list teams to get the leaflet to patients who will benefit most.

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