S T A T E M E N T
Diabetes Management in Correctional Institutions
AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION t any given time, over 2 million people are incarcerated in prisons and jails in the U.S (1). It is estimated that nearly 80,000 of these inmates have diabetes, a prevalence of 4.8% (2). In addition, many more people pass through the corrections system in a given year. In 1998alone, over 11 million people were released from prison to the community (1). The current estimated prevalence of diabetes in correctional institutions is somewhat lower than the overall U.S. prevalence of diabetes, perhaps because the incarcerated population is younger than the general population. The prevalence of diabetes and its related comorbidities and complications, however, will continue toincrease in the prison population as current sentencing guidelines continue to increase the number of aging prisoners and the incidence of diabetes in young people continues to increase. People with diabetes in correctional facilities should receive care that meets national standards. Correctional institutions have unique circumstances that need to be considered so that all standards of care maybe achieved (3). Correctional institutions should have written policies and procedures for the management of diabetes and for training of medical and correctional staff in diabetes care practices. These policies must take into consideration issues such as security needs, transfer from one facility to another, and access to medical personnel and equipment, so that all appropriate levels of care areprovided. Ideally, these policies should encourage or at least allow patients to self-manage their diabetes. Ultimately, diabetes management is dependent upon having access to needed medical personnel and equipment. Ongoing diabetes therapy is important in order to reduce the risk of later complications, including cardiovascular events, visual
loss, renal failure, and amputation. Earlyidentiﬁcation and intervention for people with diabetes is also likely to reduce short-term risks for acute complications requiring transfer out of the facility, thus improving security. This document provides a general set of guidelines for diabetes care in correctional institutions. It is not designed to be a diabetes management manual. More detailed information on the management of diabetes andrelated disorders can be found in the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Clinical Practice Recommendations, published each year in January as the ﬁrst supplement to Diabetes Care, as well as the “Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes” (4) contained therein. This discussion will focus on those areas where the care of people with diabetes in correctional facilities may differ, and speciﬁcrecommendations are made at the end of each section. INTAKE MEDICAL ASSESSMENT Reception screening Reception screening should emphasize patient safety. In particular, rapid identiﬁcation of all insulin-treated persons with diabetes is essential in order to identify those at highest risk for hypo- and hyperglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). All insulin-treated patients should have a capillary bloodglucose (CBG) determination within 1–2 h of arrival. Signs and symptoms of hypo- or hyperglycemia can often be confused with intoxication or withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. Individuals with diabetes exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with hypoglycemia, particularly altered mental status, agitation, combativeness, and diaphoresis, should have ﬁnger-stick blood glucose levels measuredimmediately.
Intake screening Patients with a diagnosis of diabetes should have a complete medical history and physical examination by a licensed health care provider with prescriptive authority in a timely manner. If one is not available on site, one should be consulted by those performing reception screening. The purposes of this history and physical examination are to determine the type of...