Hospital Visits During COVID-19
Is it safe to go to the hospital?
Yes it is. Hospitals are still encouraging people to come to prevent greater risk or illness and to reach out to their local hospital now to understand what precautions and protocols they need to take should they decide they need to go.
When should I go to the hospital?
- If you are worried that you may be showing signs of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), seek help. Do not wait. If left untreated, DKA can lead to death.
- If you suspect someone you love may be showing signs of diabetes, seek help. We were devastated to hear of a recent death in the US that occurred when T1D was thought to be the flu.
- With COVID-19, physicians urge you seek help if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse or have bluish lips or face in light-skinned patients, gray or whitish skin around the mouth in dark-skinned patients, or grayish-greenish skin tone in patients with yellowish skin.
What should I do before I go to the hospital?
- Contact your personal physician and have them call ahead of your arrival to ensure staff know that you have T1D, the medical issue you are going to the hospital for and your arrival time.
- Pack a bag with two weeks of T1D supplies.
What T1D supplies should I bring to the hospital?
Protocols vary by hospital, and some facilities may not allow the use of your own supplies and T1D technology, but experts advise that you bring your own supplies and be prepared to use them if possible.
1. Blood glucose monitoring equipment
- If you have one, take your CGM and a sufficient supply of sensors, transmitter and back-up transmitter, adhesives/tapes, pre-insertion wipes, batteries and/or charging device, cables.
- Standard blood glucose monitoring supplies: glucose meter, lancing device and a sufficient supply of lancets and strips. You may need to use the hospital’s meter, but could ask to use your own lancing device as it likely has smaller gauge needles.
2. Insulin and injection or pump supplies
- If you use a pump: sufficient supplies (including reservoirs and filling mechanism (or pods if you use OmniPod), infusion sets, inserter devices), charging cable and/or battery
- If you use pens or syringes: a sufficient supply of pens and pentips, or syringes. Syringes are typically available, but, if permitted, you may feel more comfortable using what you are accustomed to
3. Vials of all insulins used, with back-up vials. Many hospitals do not carry all types of insulins, so if you would prefer not to change, bring your own.
4. Supply of treatments for non-severe lows (glucose tablets, juice etc.)
5. Glucagon (if available)
6. Ketone test strips (should be available, but good to take with you)
7. Copies of your healthcare team’s contact information
8. If possible, a copy of your last prescription
9. Details of your insulin regimen to share with medical staff: if medical staff need to manage your T1D on your behalf, this is information that they need communicated clearly and quickly. For example, if you use an insulin pump, try to download and bring a printout of the device settings, showing the basal profile, the profile of your carbohydrate-to-insulin ratios, the profile of your insulin sensitivity factor, targets for correction doses and active insulin time. Also include your typical total daily dose of insulin.