Telemonitoring service allows patients to better control their diabetes

Sharon Wilson, Specialist Diabetic Nurse.
Sharon Wilson, Specialist Diabetic Nurse.

An innovative service in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust is empowering patients to take better control of their diabetes and reduce the risk of serious complications.

Telemonitoring involves remotely monitoring patients who are not at the same location as the health care provider, for example a nurse. A patient has a number of monitoring devices at home and the results are sent via telephone to their nurse/doctor.

Telemonitoring can help patients avoid a stay in hospital or the need to travel to clinics for treatment. The service is provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For one patient in particular telemonitoring has been a great help. She has a telemonitoring package which is used to take and send blood glucose readings each day to her specialist diabetic nurse.

The client said: “I have had Type 2 diabetes for over ten years. I am insulin dependent and need to inject myself to control the diabetes. I was at serious risk of developing complications.

“Using telemonitoring has really helped me to gain some control over my condition. The daily monitoring has helped me to modify my diet, lose weight and bring my readings down as I can see on a daily basis how good my control is.

“Before using telemonitoring I was very erratic in taking my blood sugar levels, but the system has given me a prompt every day to take my readings. I also know that my specialist diabetic nurse, reviews my readings weekly and that someone will be in touch if they’re not received.

“I have now been able to reduce my insulin and I’m confident I will continue to see a reduction in my readings which means my risk of developing serious complications has reduced greatly”.

Sharon Wilson, a specialist diabetic nurse working for the Northern Trust advises: “When patients begin to take control of their health, telemonitoring empowers them and makes them more independent as they take their own readings from the comfort of their home and send them electronically to the centre. I review their readings every week but the system definitely helps patients to learn about their condition and control it. This of course improves their quality of life and reduces the risk of long term complications.

“I can see results over a week or over a longer period of time, and any changes are easy to spot, meaning I can get in touch straight away and increase or decrease insulin as needed, and then monitor the effects. This is particularly helpful if a deterioration is identified.

“It also gives me the reassurance that the results I’m getting are reliable as with telemonitoring I’m getting the information straight from the glucometer.

“Telemonitoring has definitely freed up my time in terms of visits, appointments and phone calls for these patients, and means I can offer more support to my patients.”

The Telemonitoring service covers a wide range of needs, and is intended to support people, enabling them to continue living in their own home, independently or with the assistance of carers, for as long as possible. Telemonitoring has proven to help a wide range of people including older people living with long term conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), heart failure, people who have suffered a stroke and people with renal conditions.

The Trust currently has 315 clients receiving the support of the telemonitoring service which is available Trust wide.

For more information on telemonitoring please contact: Bronagh Mooney on tel number: 028 94426100 or email bronagh.mooney@northerntrust.hscni.net