Diabetes is one of the most common diagnoses for older adults in care communities. Diabetes is linked not only to additional disease burden but also to higher health costs. Under the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM), SNFs may now qualify for reimbursement of some of the expenses of non-therapy ancillary (NTA) comorbidities by receiving two points for an active diabetes mellitus diagnosis.
It is crucial for staff to understand and manage the factors that affect blood sugar level variances. So, they can provide appropriate care that meets each resident’s individual needs. This also helps to ensure those factors are included in the overall plan of care. MealTracker can help providers prepare and adjust plans for residents with diabetes.
Diabetes and nutrition
Staff need to understand some common factors that can lead to hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. Hyperglycemia, or elevated blood sugar, can be a result of infection or stress. While, hypoglycemia, commonly referred to as low blood sugar, can result from advanced age, renal failure, polypharmacy, and varied nutritional intake. Since the American Diabetes Association no longer recommends sliding scale insulin regimens for long-term care residents, it’s imperative to address and adjust current medication regimens that may have been carried over from a hospital setting. In addition, caregivers can provide blood glucose monitoring, medication management, and individualized scheduled meals and snacks.
Nutrition recommendations from the ADA
Individualized meals and snacks for those in long-term or skilled nursing facilities are imperative, and MealTracker makes this task easy. According to the ADA, liberalized diets show improvements in the consumption of food. Additionally, they suggest that beverages help avoid unintentional weight loss and dehydration. In addition, they suggest that “while carbohydrate intake should be taken into consideration. However, they do not recommend ‘no concentrated sweets’ or ’no sugar’ diets as they are ineffective for glycemic management.” Instead, a consistent carbohydrate meal plan that allows a wide variety of food choices (e.g., general diet) may be more beneficial for nutritional needs and glycemic control in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. So, managing nutrition therapy to meet these standards is key to providing high-quality care.
The top 5 recommendations for meal planning
Adopting a nutrition therapy approach using a more liberalized diet is leading the change to better management in SNFs and rehab centers. MealTracker’s advanced nutritional analysis feature helps meet five best practice recommendations for meal planning for diabetes:
- Include three to five servings of carbohydrates per meal.
- 15g is equivalent to one serving.
- Choose whole grains that include more fiber to slow absorption and stabilize blood sugar.
- Eat four to six ounces of protein.
- We recommend lean meat, chicken, fish, low-fat dairy, or soy.
- Include healthy fats and limit saturated fats.
- Avoid trans fats found in processed or baked goods and “partially hydrogenated oils.”
SNFs and rehab centers can significantly improve the care provided for diabetic residents by using individualized care plans that include nutrition therapy. MealTracker makes managing diabetic residents easier.
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