Westmount Gardens’ NP, BSO team collaborate to reduce responsive behaviours following blood checks

Less invasive blood monitoring system is showing promising results
3/12/2018  - Deron Hamel
Pictured above, Westmount Gardens nurse practitioner Sarah Bajura-MacLaren and PSW-BSO Bobbie Morphy  

When Westmount Gardens’ Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team noticed that one of the London, Ont., long-term care community’s residents was exhibiting responsive behaviours following blood glucose checks, nurse practitioner (NP) Sarah Bajura-MacLaren was approached to help create a plan to prevent the resident from becoming agitated.

People living with both dementia and diabetes often experience agitation stemming from having blood glucose monitoring, Sarah says. This particular resident needs at least four blood checks per day, she adds.

Working with the resident’s family, a plan was created to use a blood monitoring system, called the FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System, that’s less invasive.

Rather than pricking people’s fingers to take blood samples, the FreeStyle Libre system uses a sensor that’s placed on the back of people’s arms. When nursing staff needs to conduct a blood glucose check, they wave a monitoring device over the sensor to obtain a reading.

Using this system has worked, Sarah says.

“Since ... this glucose monitoring system was put in place, the resident has had no further responsive behaviours related to blood glucose monitoring,” she tells S&R Today.

“And due to the ease at which the glucose levels can be checked, her diabetic control has improved due to appropriate changes in her insulin treatment regimen.”

The FreeStyle Libre system is not covered by the Ontario Disability Support Program, although many extended insurance plans do provide coverage. However, Sarah has contacted the system’s manufacturer to inquire about the possibility of forming a research partnership to offset its costs.

“(We want) to determine if coverage for this could be incorporated into any research studies that could facilitate lower cost for residents who clearly would benefit from this less invasive monitoring for their diabetic management,” she says.

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