Correct insulin injection technique leads to ‘efficiency, cost saving and good patient health’
“It takes a moment to address, but if ignored could have long-term negative impacts,” says Dr Patrick Holmes.
The GP/GPwSI Diabetes from St George's Medical Practice in Darlington is talking about injection technique for people who rely on insulin to manage their diabetes.
“There’s no getting away from the fact that all patients who have type 1 diabetes, those who have pancreatic diabetes or who have had type 2 for a long time will require insulin-based therapy. But how many of those people will have been shown the correct technique I wonder?” he asks.
Dr Holmes will be tackling the subject as part of a DPC and BD CPD-accredited webinar series. Entitled ‘Empowering patient self-management through knowledge and training in Best Practice Injection Technique’ it will focus on providing healthcare professionals with working examples and real-life, in-practice patient case studies on best practice injection techniques.
“It’s an important issue and historically it’s always been the exclusive domain of secondary care, but insulin initiation is increasingly being done within primary care. Therefore, getting the delivery of the insulin is really rather important for all of us in general practice,” Dr Holmes explains.
“In my experience, injection technique is something which is often forgotten by people with the condition and in a lot of cases it’s also something that’s not fully understood by healthcare professionals.”
One of the main conditions that improper injection techniques can cause is lipohypertrophy.
“We are creatures of habit so those who have not been educated about rotating their injection sites, and to use a fresh needle each time, will start to develop these lumpy bits on their skin (lipohypertrophy). These areas will require more insulin to be injected as the body takes longer to absorb it. The danger comes when people start injecting into other healthy areas, and use the same dosage which can cause low blood sugar.
“As doctors, we’re more likely to think about the timing of the injection, or even the type of insulin, but sometimes it’s the simple act of addressing the injection site that can make all the difference.
“GPs have an important role, which really needs to be addressed during a time when the NHS is struggling so much with resources. Correct injections technique is all about efficiency, cost saving and ensuring the health of the patient comes first.”