How to care for someone with Diabetes

Posted 14 November 2017

Blog tags: Health and Social Care


14th November is World Diabetes Day and we interviewed the Managing Director of one of our career partners, SRG Care. Steve Harris is living with type one diabetes and is telling us how he manages his condition, what symptoms he experiences and how a carer can really help patients who are also diagnosed with type one diabetes.

How long have you had diabetes? And did it play any role in building a career in the Healthcare sector?

I have had type one diabetes for nearly 20 years now. It was undiagnosed for 4 years, which made me very poorly.  It was only when I lost a lot of weight and fainted out that it was diagnosed. I never had a problem getting into work and was actually already working in the Health & Social Care industry.

What treatment do you use to treat your diabetes?

I have an insulin pump that I carry around with me 24hrs a day, this injects me with insulin when I need it and when I want to eat a cake or 2! I need to check my blood levels 8 times a day, by a small prick of the finger.

Can you recognize the symptoms of a low/high blood sugar? If so, what symptoms do you get?

I never used to, I was really bad but now I am able to reconize the signs. Normally if I have low level of sugar in my system then I can get confused and slur my words (this can be embarrassing) or I start to get a smell of hard boiled sweets.  However, when my sugar intake is too high, I become lethargic and tired with a faster heartbeat. 

What do you have to pay attention to in regards to food?

The old tale of "sugar diabetes" is totally correct. My Gran used to say “You can’t eat that it’s got too much sugar in it”  But in all seriousness, I use a system called carb counting, this measures the levels of Carbohydrates in any food and I also use a ratio of Insulin to the Carb level. I would say that as time goes on you are able to understand more on what should and shouldn’t be eaten.

Managing a company can be stressful.  What do you do to control your stress levels and how do you cope with being the managing director and living with diabetes?

I think even without diabetes, running a business can be stressful. I work long hours and I also have a good social life. However, my diabetes does have an impact on how I work, but I am always conscious of where my boundary is. When it came to setting and developing the business, I took into consideration my own health and took the time I needed for myself. I also have a very supportive wife and grown-up children who keep me on track.

What would you suggest to our students who will care for people with diabetes?

Living with diabetes can be very challenging and each person with this condition has a different way of managing it. The most important rule is to speak to your patient with dignity and always ask how they would like to be supported rather than just assuming. Lastly, you need to recognize signs around low and high blood sugar levels, be patient when the levels aren’t normal and always communicate with your patient to keep them informed.

So, if you have a passion to care for others and feel you could bring the professionalism needed to the Healthcare industry get in touch to find out more about our courses on: 01202 497 980 or send an email to info@careerstraining.co.uk.