Patient Information

Hospital patients with diabetes


This gives you information about controlling your diabetes while you are in hospital.

How can I control my diabetes while I am in hospital?

When you arrive on the ward, speak to a doctor or nurse about your diabetes.

Together you can agree a plan to manage your diabetes during your hospital stay.

This plan will include:

  • A foot examination to keep your feet healthy.
  • Advice on choosing meals and snacks and ensuring mealtimes are suitable. This will help you avoid or manage low blood sugars and high blood sugars.
  • Support with self-management of medications. This includes insulin and blood glucose (sugar) monitoring, if appropriate.
  • Support if you have concerns about managing your diabetes practically or emotionally.
  • Advice on planning your discharge from hospital and your future diabetes care.

Self-administration of insulin while you are in hospital

Usually nurses administer medications to patients in hospital. This may include injecting doses of insulin for diabetes patients.

Some patients may prefer to give their insulin doses themselves while in hospital, just as they do at home. This is called self-administration.

Diabetes needle test

Can I choose to self-administer my insulin?

If you want to self-administer your insulin doses, talk to your doctor or nurse.

They will assess whether it is safe for you to administer your own insulin doses while you are in hospital.

They will ask you some questions to assess your understanding of insulin, the doses you take and your injection technique.

If your doctor or nurse feels it is safe for you to self-administer your insulin, they will ask you to sign a consent form.  They will also give you a yellow sharps container and a dose record chart.

Do I have to self-administer my insulin?

No, you do not have to self-administer your doses. If you prefer, the nurse can give you your insulin.

How do I prepare for self-administration?

To prepare for self-administration, make sure you have enough supplies of your insulin and needles. Tell your nurse if you are running low.

Where will my insulin and used needles be stored?

Your insulin must be stored in the storage box provided by the nursing staff.  This keeps it safely away from other patients. 

Used needles must be disposed of immediately after use in your yellow sharps container. 

Do not leave needles attached to your pen.

Can I monitor my own blood glucose level?

We will monitor your blood glucose using hospital ward meters because they are highly accurate.

If you want to continue to check your blood glucose levels using your own meter, you can.

Tell your nurse if your blood glucose reading is less than 4mmol or higher than 12mmol. They will confirm the result by using the ward meter.

The benefits of self-administration

Patients with diabetes are usually knowledgeable about their condition. They often know better than anyone else how much insulin they require in different situations.

Allowing patients to administer their own insulin doses has been shown to improve the timing of doses. This leads to better blood glucose levels.

The risks of self-administration

Insulin can be dangerous if an incorrect dose is administered. This is why we need to ensure that you are well enough to give yourself your own doses while in hospital.

Your doctor or nurse may decide it is not possible for you to self-administer your insulin doses if:

  • you are too unwell.
  • changes have been made to your treatment (for example if you require an operation).
  • you have been prescribed steroids which can affect your blood glucose levels.

In these situations, a nurse will give your doses for you.

Hospital patients with diabetes - Kingston Hospital Download PDF

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Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).

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