RCN updates its guidance on pre-loading insulin syringes

The college says nurses must be aware of their legal position and follow an organisation-wide policy

Updated guidance for nurses on pre-loading insulin syringes for use by people with diabetes in their own home has been published by the RCN.

In a small minority of cases, people with diabetes who need regular doses of insulin are unable to use devices such as insulin pens and have to use pre-loaded syringes.

The practice should be a last resort, according to the college, and nurses must be aware of the legal position around such treatment and their own liability. 

The latest guidance says the rising numbers of people with type 2 diabetes, combined with an ageing population demographic, mean the number of people unable to use a pen device, due to dexterity or other reasons, is growing. 

Practitioners and healthcare organisations must take responsibility for the safety of the activity, and an organisation-wide policy should be in place to ensure patient safety and provide nurses with legal protection, it says. 

RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: ‘The NHS’s ability to manage diabetes will be crucial over the coming years, and specialist staff and those working in the community will be in a key position to refine best practice and give care of the highest quality.’

The college said its previous guidance on the subject was ‘one of the most used of all RCN publications, demonstrating the importance placed by nurses on getting care right in this difficult area’.

To read the guidance, see Advanced preparation of insulin syringes for adult patients to administer at home

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