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Jun 8, 2023

Diabetes is common.  When I’m on nursing home call, the most common page I receive is for a blood sugar value.  When I’m on palliative care consults and attending in our hospice unit we have to counsel patients about deprescribing and de-intensifying diabetes medications. 

Given how frequent monitoring and prescribing issues arise in the care of patients with diabetes in late life, including the end of life, Eric and I were excited when Tamryn Gray emailed us requesting a follow up podcast on this issue.  Our last podcast was with Laura Petrillo in 2018 - 5 years ago seems ancient history - though many of the points still apply today (e.g. Goldilocks zone).  And yet we’re also in a different place in diabetes monitoring and management.

To answer our questions, we invited Nadine Carter, a current hospice and palliative care fellow at Dartmouth who previously worked as an NP in outpatient endocrinology, and Alex Lee, an epidemiologist at UCSF interested in diabetes monitoring and management in the nursing home.

And we invited Tamryn Gray from the Dana Farber joins us to ask insightful questions, including:

What blood sugar range should we target for patients in the nursing home or hospice?  How high is too high?  Should considerations differ for people with dementia? What are the risks and rewards of new classes of medications?  How do caregivers fit into this? Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)  is commonplace in Type 1 and gaining traction in Type 2. We debate the merits of use of CGM in the nursing home and other late life settings (Eric and I argue against CGM and lose).  Ozempic is a new fancy med that, by the way, leads to weight loss among celebrities, resulting in shortages of the drug from people using it off-label for that purpose.  Should we use Ozempic (if we can find it) in patients with serious illness, which often results in undesirable and profound weight loss? 

Listen in to learn more!


Additional Links: 

-Fingerstick monitoring in VA nursing homes (too common!)

-Improving diabetes management in hospice

-Continuous Glucose Monitoring complicating end of life care