Support workers can legally give insulin…
When a disability organisation delegates insulin administration or support to their support workers a quality system of staff training, knowledge and skills evaluation, policy guidance and diabetes care advice is required to minimise the actual or perceived risk to the organisation.
Jayne Lehmann is a leading Australian advocate for the delivery of high quality diabetes training to disability support workers. She has paved the way nationally for many new projects, resources and innovations that all help to get people with intellectual disability on track to good health with their diabetes. This includes insulin administration by support workers, low literacy resources, online training programs and the development of Diabetes Management Plans.
Jayne offers a quality approach to establishing diabetes care strategies in disability care and support organisations across Australia.
Disability organisations all over Australia are putting their disability support staff through the Diabetes Care in the Community online education program … The three modules make it easy to fit to the needs of clients, including those on insulin.
To find out more about the course, its modules and structure click here.
- evaluation of a support workers’ diabetes care knowledge, blood glucose monitoring and insulin management skills.
- a diabetes care focussed policy/procedure framework.
- input from a Credentialled Diabetes Educator to develop comprehensive diabetes care plans for each client/customer with diabetes
- development of a team of health professionals around each individual’s care needs .
One thing Jayne knows is that support workers need a comprehensive education program if they are to safely and confidently look after people with diabetes, including the administration of insulin. “There are many people who offer education sessions for an hour, hour and a half to teach support workers how to give insulin but that does not cover enough depth.” Jayne said when launching the new on-line version of the course in April 2019. “They don’t get any training on diabetes or its care in the certificate III or IV courses so we need to ‘retro-fit’ their knowledge if they are to provide quality care and support of people with diabetes, especially when insulin is involved.”
Jayne has been delivering her three module Diabetes Care in the Community education program in South Australia for many years. As a result, many South Australian and interstate disability organisations confidently delegate insulin management and support to their support workers because they have successfully gone through this education program. The three module format of the program makes it easy to customise the education to suit the needs of people with diabetes who are managed with diet, exercise and stress management alone or those requiring diabetes medication, including injectables like insulin.
Organisations usually purchase a copy of the Diabetes Care and Support of People with Intellectual Disability or Acquired Brain Injury manual and resources, also written by Jayne, to easily include some additional infrastructure for the support workers delivery of each individual’s diabetes care support. Some also add a block of consultancy hours for Jayne to work with them to develop a policy and procedure structure to ensure quality governance is in place.
Organisations choose from the following modules:
- Diabetes care in the community – 2.5 hour general update providing an overview of type 1 and type 2 diabetes diagnosis, care and support in people with disability.
- Blood glucose monitoring – 2-hour theory and practice session using a specific blood glucose meter. Participants learn how to accurately check, think and act on blood glucose levels for quality results.
- Insulin management by support workers – 2 hour theory and practice of administering or supporting someone with their insulin using disposable or cartridge insulin pen. Includes the identification, treatment and prevention of hypoglycaemia.
To read testimonials from past participants click here
Find out which other organisations have used these services click here.
Edhealth Australia will be offering an education session on Healthy Lifestyle Support in the near future/ This online education session is for all support workers because it will teach them about the Australian health system, how often people need to see their doctor for good health and basic health checks that will help them to support the person to stay healthy. Disability support organisations will want to add this one to their induction programs!
Contact Jayne to discuss the needs of your organisation further.
Isn’t it illegal for support workers to administer insulin?
No. Many disability organisations are told it is illegal for support workers to be trained to administer insulin but this is not true. Support workers are unregulated health workers and as such, if an organisation provides the appropriate quality education and policy/procedure support the manager of the service can legally delegate the injecting of insulin to the support workers.
This is why the EdHealth Australia program is comprehensive. Managers need to feel confident their staff are learning the depth of knowledge and skills required if they are to inject a person’s insulin.
Each organisation’s program is customised to fit the needs of the participants and person/people with diabetes to be supported. Support workers are not provided with sufficient diabetes care knowledge and skills in their certificates in disability and organisations are encouraged to provide the Diabetes Care in the Community program as an overview of diabetes care session. If they will be doing or supporting someone to blood glucose monitor then the BGM session is added. If they will be supporting insulin administration then the insulin module is also included.
A robust evaluation program is incorporated into the course to make sure support workers have gained the skills required in caring for clients with diabetes.
- Workbooks are completed or provided for each session. Information is learnt and a short answer test provided that participants are required to achieve a mark over 80% to pass.
- An audit of technique is conducted in the education session on the use of a blood glucose meter and/or insulin device, dependent on the sessions presented.
Do you have any other resources to support disability care?
Yes. Additional policy development can be provided to further support staff by providing a quality systems approach for the organisation.
- The Diabetes Care and Support manual and resources for support workers are available for purchase and implementation during the training. Resources include pathways of care, blood glucose monitoring charts, Check, Think and Act resource, diabetes health care plan, yearly review and other checklists and low literacy education .
Jayne can also review individuals with diabetes in one of her clinics or with a home visit, to set-up a Diabetes Health Care Plan. This is best done before the education program so the needs of the individual can be discussed during the education sessions.
Jayne Lehmann has worked with many disability support organisations in South Australia and beyond. To discuss your staff education and consultancy needs and to arrange for a quotation for the delivery of services contact Jayne Lehmann. Phone: 0412 102 048 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org