Wrightway Health

Supporting staff with diabetes – Everything you need to know!

In the UK, 4.6 million people are currently living with diabetes. It is estimated that if nothing changes by 2025, another 5 million people will have the disorder. It’s likely that you have someone in your organisation dealing with the condition.

90% of those diagnosed with diabetes are known as type 2. This is where the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin and is often linked to a poor diet, inactive lifestyle or being overweight. For the 10% diagnosed with type 1, the condition is based on genetics, has no relation to diet and cannot be prevented.

For both types, the effects on the overall health of the person can be detrimental. Without effective control, the long-term complications include heart disease, kidney failure and neuropathy along with loss of limbs.

Common complications employees with diabetes can suffer from are Hypoglycaemia and Ketoacidosis. Hypoglycaemia is when the blood sugar is too low and can cause loss of consciousness. Ketoacidosis is when blood sugar levels are too high which can result in hospitalisation and diabetic coma.

Diabetes treatment is dependent on scheduling and may not mix well with the day to day work load of your employees. For many, here lies the problem of employee discrimination. They may also feel they are at a severe disadvantage in their job.

In a recent survey conducted by Diabetes UK, a staggering 1 in 6 people with the disorder felt they had been discriminated against. 1 in 3 people living with diabetes said they didn’t receive enough support and understanding from their colleagues. More than a third (37%) said diabetes caused them difficulties at work. 7% had even gone so far as to hide their condition from their employer.

What role can you play to help those dealing with diabetes?

  • Be understanding– take the time to fully understand the condition and the different elements involved.
  • Be flexible– diabetes impacts on individuals in different ways with different treatment schedules. Talk with your employee to come up with a strategy to suit both of you. Decide how they are going to manage their work load, treatment plan and hospital appointments.
  • Be supportive– many employees just want to know that their boss is there for extra support. By providing this, you are already making their lives easier.

Occupational Health providers understand that employers need to minimise sickness absences.  Absences can result in disruption, loss of productivity and added expense.

Wrightway Health specialises in an early intervention approach to sickness management. We administer a series of positive steps including in-depth consultations and detailed reports. We offer guidance, advice, action recommendations and an appropriate return to work plan.

For a detailed conversation on how we can help you, contact us on 01603 274460. For more information on diabetes, please visit http://www.diabetes.org.uk

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