Inpatient Diabetes Care

Joint Commission Gold SealManaging diabetes while you are in the hospital can be a challenge. Mount Nittany Medical Center has assembled a team of trained professionals to help you achieve the best possible glycemic control during your hospital stay. Our team includes physicians, pharmacists, physician assistants, registered dietitians, registered nurses, physical therapists and certified diabetes educators.

Services include:

  1. Management of blood sugar and appropriate blood glucose targets,
  2. Pharmacists assisting your physician on medication adjustment for optimal control,
  3. Healthy meals with carbohydrates calculated for you,
  4. Patient education TV channel with a variety of diabetes topics to enhance your lifestyle,
  5. Operating and maintaining your own insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor while under our care, and
  6. Assistance with self-management skills needed to go home and live a healthy life with diabetes.

During your stay at the hospital, you may be given insulin instead of diabetes pills. Your doctor may prescribe insulin for your hospital stay, but that does not necessarily indicate that you will be dependent on insulin when you go home.

Often nurses will count your carb intake to help determine the amount of insulin needed to cover the food you have eaten. Again, you may not have to carb count when you are at home. 

To learn more, contact the diabetes network at 814.278.4666.

Inpatient glucose control

Recent studies have shown that blood sugars as close to normal levels as possible give the best chance for good and fast recovery during and after a hospital stay. Good blood sugar levels can shorten your hospital stay, decrease your risk of infection in the hospital and decrease your risk of developing many other problems.

I was told my blood sugars are too high. Does this mean I have diabetes?

Not necessarily. The stress of an illness can affect people without diabetes by raising their blood sugars above normal levels. Many times after the illness is over, the blood sugars will return to normal and all you need to do is have your blood sugars checked at your regular doctor visits. Sometimes though, this can be the first sign of diabetes – time will tell.

What are the blood sugar numbers I should have while I am here in the hospital?

Less than 140 before a meal and less than 180 anytime for most patients. This may be different if you are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). One important fact to keep in mind is that due to the stress of an illness and the medicine often used in the hospital setting, it is much more difficult to control blood sugars in the hospital making good blood sugar control hard to achieve. The main goal is to keep your blood sugars as close to normal levels as possible, not perfect, for a good and fast recovery.

Why do I need to have so many finger sticks?

Blood sugars change throughout the day so it helps to do finger sticks often to determine your exact medicine needs. Keep in mind that medication doses/schedules that have worked well for you at home may need to be adjusted while you are in the hospital.

Why am I on insulin here when I don’t take insulin at home?

The stress of an illness or surgery and the medicine often used in the hospital setting can cause your blood sugars to go higher than they were at home. If you already take pills for diabetes, they are usually not effective during these times. Insulin is the best medicine to control your blood sugars while you are in the hospital.

Does this mean I will have to take insulin from now on?

Not necessarily. While you are a patient here, we want to keep your blood sugars as close to normal as possible so that you have less chance of getting an infection or other problems that may develop from high blood sugars. Insulin is the best way to handle your diabetes when you are in the hospital. Often, your doctor may even give you insulin to use for the first few weeks after you leave the hospital so that you can continue to heal well. After some time, most people can return to their same treatment plan of diet, exercise and pills.

How will I know what diabetes medicines to take after discharge?

Your nurse will work with you before discharge to review any changes to your diabetes medicine plan. It is very important that you watch for changes in your blood sugar levels for the first few weeks after you leave the hospital. It is important to keep your blood sugars as close to normal levels as possible so that you continue to heal well. Be sure to call your doctor with any abnormal levels right away.

Fall safety prevention

If you have neuropathy (or nerve damage) caused from diabetes, you may be asked to wear shoes at all times when you are out of bed to protect you from an injury while here, even when just standing or going short distances. Your nurse may place you on neuropathy precautions, which means every time you get out of bed you will need something more than the slipper socks provided for you.

Our Training

To supplement these programs, Mount Nittany Health also has specially trained staff who work closely with healthcare providers and patients:

  • Diabetes mentors hold advanced training in diabetes and share their expertise with other Mount Nittany Health staff members.
  • Registered dietitians and certified diabetes educators provide diabetic or pre-diabetic patients with nutritional screening, assessment and education.

Mount Nittany Medical Center awarded Advanced Certification for Inpatient Diabetes Care from Joint Commission

Mount Nittany Medical Center has received the Joint Commission’s Certificate of Distinction for Inpatient Diabetes Care for the second time. Click here to learn more.