Disabilities, Diabetes, and Devices

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The creative home care clinician must empower the client with diabetes or physical and psychosocial disabilities to manage independently with appropriate adaptive equipment. This article offers suggestions, tips, and inexpensive tools that can meet individual patient needs.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) defines disability as “an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities” (AADE Position Statement, 2002). The prevalence of disability among people with diabetes ranges from 20 to 50%, partially because long-term diabetes causes numerous disabilities (AADE Position Statement). As the population with diabetes increases, the number of people living with both diabetes and physical disabilities also increases. Disabilities associated with diabetes include visual impairment, decreased manual dexterity, neuropathy, cognitive problems, and paralysis. Persons with these conditions experience increased difficulty performing diabetes self-care tasks such as drawing and injecting insulin, blood glucose monitoring, and urine ketone testing.

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