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Top diabetes professor warns older people with type 1 are being overlooked

Professor Ketan Dhatariya_1200

A top UK professor is urging the healthcare profession to make older people with type 1 diabetes a “priority and not an after-thought”.

Professor Ketan Dhatariya, a diabetes consultant at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, wants to raise the standard for the over 60s in a bid to reduce diabetes-related hospital admissions.

Professor Dhatariya said: “The number of older people with type 1 diabetes will certainly increase with time and we need to develop a strategy to ensure that long-term survival is not invariably accompanied by a fall in standards of care.

“It’s crucial that carers and clinicians working with older people have the knowledge required to identify those at risk and to ensure safe management of this vulnerable group. This means simplification of insulin regimens, ability to recognise the early signs of hypoglycaemia, and knowledge of how and when to adjust insulin.”

Professor Dhatariya, who is also an Honorary Professor of Medicine, will join Professor Alan Sinclair, Director of the Foundation for Diabetes Research in Older People (FDROP) and Dr David Strain, Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Diabetes and Vascular Research Centre, University of Exeter Medical School at a major diabetes conference.

Together, the three leading experts will present a session entitled ‘Type 1 Diabetes in Older Adults – Key Features and Management Guidance’ at Diabetes Professional Care (DPC2019), the UK’s largest free-to-attend, CPD-accredited conference for healthcare professionals working in diabetes care.

As well as discussing insulin regimen options and co-morbidity treatments, the speakers will also look at the recently launched type 1 clinical guidelines for older people and how they can be used to improve care for the over 60s with the condition.

Professor Dhatariya added: “At the moment, what’s happening is older people with diabetes become frail and develop other chronic health conditions. They are being admitted to hospital because they are struggling to manage their condition competently, which is not ideal.

“Then the hospital gets filled up with frail individuals and because of the lack of community support, they can’t be discharged when they should be. We need more investment into primary care so we can prevent this from happening in the first place and also support those who need it, if it does occur. It’s time we make older people with type 1 diabetes a priority and not an after-thought.”

This year DPC opens on October 29 and will be in a larger hall within Olympia London to accommodate increased demand.

DPC founder Maggie Meer said: “Growing old is part of everyday life, and old age is particularly concerning for those with a chronic health condition, such as type 1 diabetes.

“There is a distinct lack of research into the management of diabetes in older people, mainly because the frail and elderly are generally excluded from studies. Trials tend to be more focussed on type 1 diabetes among the younger generation or type 2 diabetes among older people. But despite this, the number of elderly people with type 1 diabetes is increasing.

“It’s vital we ensure all populations who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes are included to ensure standards of diabetes care are improved. At DPC2019 we work very hard to produce a programme which ensures healthcare professionals who attend the show, leave with the confidence and skills to treat each individual based on the latest guidelines and treatment options that are currently available.”

At the heart of DPC2019 will be a multi-stream conference bringing together world-class practitioners and thought leaders to share their expertise and knowledge on diabetes care and best practice.

A series of informal new clinics will be at the heart of a revamped programme, with a key focus around co-morbidities and related conditions.

Sessions focussing on care for older people include:

Hypoglycaemia assessment in the elderly: key considerations in practice
Elderly & end of life care for people with CKD
Practical advice and tips for older people with diabetes: 3 avenues of assessment & management

Healthcare professionals, Commissioners and Service Leads can still register a free place online or via 023 8081 1551.

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