AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine

View all recommendations from this society

Released September 4, 2013

Don’t use sliding scale insulin (SSI) for long-term diabetes management for individuals residing in the nursing home.

SSI is a reactive way of treating hyperglycemia after it has occurred rather than preventing it. Good evidence exists that SSI is neither effective in meeting the body’s insulin needs nor is it efficient in the long-term care (LTC) setting. Use of SSI leads to greater patient discomfort and increased nursing time because patients’ blood glucose levels are usually monitored more frequently than may be necessary and more insulin injections may be given. With SSI regimens, patients may be at risk from prolonged periods of hyperglycemia. In addition, the risk of hypoglycemia is a significant concern because insulin may be administered without regard to meal intake. Basal insulin, or basal plus rapid-acting insulin with one or more meals (often called basal/bolus insulin therapy) most closely mimics normal physiologic insulin production and controls blood glucose more effectively.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

1–5: AMDA – The Society for Post -Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine convened a work group made up of members from the Clinical Practice Committee (CPC). Members of the CPC include board certified geriatricians, certified medical directors, multi-facility medical directors, attending practitioners, physicians practicing in both office-based and nursing facility practice, physicians in rural, suburban and academic settings, those with university appointments, and more. It was important to AMDA that the workgroup chosen represent the core base of the AMDA membership. Ideas for the “five things” were solicited from the workgroup. Suggested elements were considered for appropriateness, relevance to the core of the specialty and opportunities to improve patient care. They were further refined to maximize impact and eliminate overlap, and then ranked in order of potential importance both for the specialty and for the public. A literature search was conducted to provide supporting evidence or refute the activities. The list was modified and a second round of selection of the refined list was sent to the workgroup for paring down to the final “top five” list. Finally, the work group chose its top five recommendations before submitting a final draft to the AMDA Executive Committee, which were then approved.

6–10: The AMDA Choosing Wisely® endeavor utilized a similar procedure as published in JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174 (40:509-515 – A Top 5 List for Emergency Medicine for our five items.

The AMDA Clinical Practice Committee acted as the Technical Expert Panel (TEP).

Phase 1 – The Clinical Practice Committee (CPC) along with the Infection Advisory Committee clinicians brainstormed an initial list of low-value clinical decisions that are under control of PA/LTC physicians that were thought to have a potential for cost savings.

Phase 2 – Each member of the CPC selected five low-value tests considering the perceived contribution to cost (how commonly the item is ordered and the individual expense of the test/treatment/action), benefit of the item (scientific evidence to support use of the item in the literature or in guidelines); and highly actionable (use decided by PA/LTC clinicians only).

Phase 3 – A survey was sent to all AMDA members. Statements were phrased as specific overuse statements by using the word “don’t,” thereby reflecting the action necessary to improve the value of care.

Phase 4 – CPC members reviewed survey results and chose the five items.

AMDA’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at www.amda.com.

Sources

Sue Kirkman M, Briscoe VJ, Clark N, Florez H, Haas LB, Halter JB, Huang ES, Korytkowski MT, Munshi MN, Odegard PS, Pratley RE, Swift CS. Consensus Development Conference on Diabetes and Older Adults. Diabetes in older adults: a consensus report. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Dec;60(12):2342-56.

American Geriatrics Society 2012 Beers Criteria Update Expert Panel. American Geriatrics Society updated Beers Criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Apr;60(4):616-31.

Haq J. Insulin sliding scare, does it exist in the nursing home. JAMDA. 2010 Mar;11(3):B14.

Hirsch IB. Sliding scale insulin—time to stop sliding. JAMA. 2009;301(2):213-214.

American Medical Directors Association. diabetes management in the long-term care setting clinical practice guideline. Columbia, MD:AMDA 2008, revised 2010.

Pandya N, Thompson S, Sambamoorthi U. The prevalence and persistence of sliding scale insulin use among newly admitted elderly nursing home residents with diabetes mellitus. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2008 Nov;9(9):663-9.

Umpierrez GE, Palacio A, Smiley D. Sliding scale insulin use: myth or insanity? Am J Med. 2007;120(7):563-67.

Boyle P, Childs B. A roadmap for improving diabetes management in long-term care communities. Available from: http://www.med-iq.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=courses.overview&cID=591.

Golightly LK, Jones MA, Hamamura DH, Stolpman NM, McDermott MT. Management of diabetes mellitus in hospitalized patients: efficiency and effectiveness of sliding-scale insulin therapy. Pharmacotherapy. 2006;26(10):1421-32.

Queale WS, Seidler AJ, Brancati FL. Glycemic control and sliding scale insulin use in medical inpatients with diabetes mellitus. Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(5):545-52.