When your duty of care extends beyond the patient to the client

01 Dec 2019

Huntley, E.

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The dilemma

An elderly client comes into the clinic with her seven-year-old diabetic terrier, Charlie. Charlie was on a stable dose of twice daily insulin which, up until recently, his owner has been able to manage. However, within the past year the client has started to develop dementia and now struggles to remember the last time she administered Charlie’s insulin. You note high glucose readings in both blood and urine samples, as well as increased levels of ketone. Your client mentions that Charlie has been urinating in the house and he seems uncharacteristically thin and lethargic. From the consultation it is clear that Charlie isn’t receiving the care he needs and his medication isn’t being administered properly – subsequently Charlie’s condition is deteriorating. You are concerned that Charlie is at serious risk of medical complications if the owner cannot manage his treatment. The owner, who lives alone, often refers...