Caring for the Diabetic Foot in Long-Term Care Facilities


By Susan M. Cleveland, BSN, RN, WCC, CDP, NADONA Board Secretary


As a Director of Nursing (DON) in a long-term care facility, do you know where the awareness level of diabetes and its complications is for your staff? Do they realize diabetes doesn’t stop? It is 24/7, 365 days a year. Knowing this reality of diabetes and understanding the disease process may assist with preventing serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and nerve damage that can lead to amputation.


Education is key. We cannot talk about this enough. Assuming someone knows or that common sense will tell people how to take care of these residents is a huge mistake. I don’t believe in common sense; I believe in common knowledge, but it is only common once it is taught. So, teach about diabetes and the care of residents with diabetes often.


Knowing the Risk of Diabetic Foot Ulcers and Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
In 2015, 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population, had diabetes. Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes. The percentage of Americans age 65 and older remains high, at 25.2%, or 12.0 million seniors (diagnosed and undiagnosed).1Diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) is the number one risk factor contributing to non-traumatic foot amputations in persons with diabetes. Limb amputations are preceded by DFUs 58% of the time. The primary risk factor for the DFU is loss of protective sensations or diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) … read more