Bedtime snacks initiative introduced for those with diabetes at NNUH

Generic Stock of Hospital ward pictures. . PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday October 3,

Generic Stock of Hospital ward pictures. . PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday October 3, 2014. See PA story . Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Patients with diabetes will get a late-night snack at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N) after a successful trial last year.

The trial was launched in 2014, providing evening snacks to patients with diabetes to help patients avoid hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar.

The 'bedtime snacks' initiative has been proved to reduce the number of hypoglycaemia incidents (hypos) or low blood sugars people with diabetes have overnight, in turn shortening their hospital stay.

After the success of the trial across three wards, it will now be rolled out across all wards in the hospital.

After running the trial there were 101 fewer hypoglycaemia incidents a month in three wards.

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Hypos occur when blood glucose levels drop too low. Symptoms include feeling shaky, sweating, hunger and tiredness.

Dr Frankie Swords, consultant in endocrinology at the N&N, said: 'We know that all patients with diabetes have an increased length of stay but we've shown that the patients with good control throughout their admission have the lowest excess length of stay in hospital.

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'The low blood sugar snacks trial aimed at reducing the number of hypos patients experience and in turn reduce the time they need to spend in hospital. The snacks were scheduled at bedtime because controlling blood sugars overnight is particularly difficult for patients in hospital and 64pc of hypos at the N&N occur at night-time.

'After the trial the number of patients who had good blood sugar control throughout admission increased by 33pc, so more people were brought into the lowest length of stay group.

'We also know that patients who did not have good glycaemic control had a length of stay which was one day longer than the average length of stay for the good control group.'

The pilot study last year offered a 20g carbohydrate snack to all patients with diabetes on Langley, Docking and Cringleford wards.

Patients were offered a choice of a banana, two digestive biscuits or a yoghurt. The results showed 64 less night-time hypos and an average 33pc fall per month from 308 to 207.

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