Diabetes and Palliative Care

Diabetes needs to be managed across a lifespan including end of life care. If a person with diabetes is receiving palliative care, their diabetes will still need to be managed because both high and low blood glucose can:

  • Make the symptoms of other conditions worse
  • Cause uncomfortable symptoms
  • Worsen the feelings of being in control and being able to cope
  • Increase anxiety

Blood Glucose Monitoring

It is important for blood glucose monitoring to continue until the final stages of palliative care. When you are very unwell it may be hard to recognise when your blood glucose is too high or too low. It can also be hard to work out the reason why you feel unwell, for example you may feel unwell because of your diabetes, the medicines you are taking, or your other illness. Checking your blood glucose levels is a way of finding out whether your blood glucose level could be contributing to the problem and help health professionals make your comfortable.

Advance Care Plan

During palliative care, people with diabetes should be involved in decision making about managing their condition. Health professionals should respect their wishes and knowledge about your diabetes.

It is very important to write down your wishes in an Advance Care Plan. When you are not able to tell health professionals your wishes they should talk to your family members or carers. If you have an Advance Care Plan it is easier for everyone to know your wishes.

Visit Palliative Care website to download the Palliative Care and Diabetes PDF. You can also find out how your usual diabetes care may change during palliative care and tips for writing an Advanced Care Plan.

Content sourced from Palliative Care Australia

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