Managing Diabetes Care In Long-Term Care Facilities

Diabetes is a relatively common chronic illness among older Americans. The American Diabetes Association reports that about 1 in 3 older Americans live with the condition, which requires constant and ongoing management. 

A report published by the National Institutes of Health indicates the prevalence of type-2 diabetes will likely increase by the year 2050 — no doubt in correlation with an aging population of younger Baby Boomers. 

The prevalence of diabetes and the likelihood that it will increase in the coming years means long-term care facilities that cater to and care for older residents must keep diabetes management top of mind as it relates to cost containment, medication management, medication adherence and lifestyle influences, such as diet and exercise. 

There is no question that diabetes management can be challenging in long-term care facilities, particularly because of the likelihood that a resident or patient may also be living with comorbidities and psychosocial conditions, including cognitive impairment, depression or anxiety.  

When it comes to the cost of care for those living with type-2 diabetes, actions taken by both the Trump and Biden administrations have initiated caps for out-of-pocket costs for monthly insulin prescriptions at $35 for a large number of Americans. The actions impacted seniors particularly, as the fixed, cost saving measures were initially rolled out to those enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan and then eventually expanded through pharmaceutical industry buy-in. 

However, if there are ways to save additional costs while still providing exceptional care in long-term care facilities, those are always welcome — especially for a chronic illness that comes with total annual healthcare expenditures close to $20,000. By comparison, the average senior without diabetes sees an annual healthcare expenditure that is less than $8,000.

Tools For Diabetes Management

One of the more useful tools for managing type-2 diabetes in a long-term care facility is the continuous glucose monitor, or CGM. There are a number of styles and brands to choose from, including Dexcom and Freestyle Libre, and long-term care facilities in need of those types of tools often work with a trusted pharmacy partner to ensure that the monitors are operating correctly and being used safely. 

As a preventative measure, the CGMs offer real-time visibility for patients and providers into an individual’s blood sugar levels, which helps avoid hypoglycemia as well as hyperglycemia. Complications that arise from diabetes care can not only be costly but potentially fatal. 

Medication Affordability And Adherence

By working with a trusted, long-term care pharmacy like UnitedRx, administrators and providers at long-term care facilities are able to form valuable, care-based and patient-centered relationships that make medication management and adherence easier and more efficient. At UnitedRx, we value the bottom line just as much as our long-term care facilities do, which is why we make sure our partners are receiving the best medications at the best price, and that extends to diabetes management as well.

From CGMs to insulin, as well as the management of medications for a patient’s co-occurring conditions, the long-term care pharmacists at UnitedRx are invaluable partners for organizations managing diabetes for residents or patients living in long-term care facilities.

Reach out to our team to learn more about how our partnerships help patients achieve better outcomes.

At UnitedRx, we deliver a hometown pharmacy experience to more than 400 clients across the country. Contact us to learn more about how our approach to treatment can meet the pharmacy needs of your long-term care facility.