The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 34th Annual Conference, held online from September 30 to October 4, 2020. The team at the Clinical Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading nurses in psychiatry. Check back for more from APNA 2020.


Treating diabetes in inpatient psychiatric facilities requires individualized and focused patient care and must encompass patient-centered educational teachings, according to a poster presented at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 34th Annual Conference, held online from September 30th to October 4th, 2020.

“The relationship between diabetes and depression is bidirectional,” the researchers wrote. “Although there is evidence of a relationship between insulin metabolism and psychiatric disorders, the phenomenon is not well understood.”

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Because of this bidirectional relationship, treatment of diabetes at inpatient psychiatric facilities needs to address both psychiatric and diabetic aspects of care in an individualized way to improve quality outcomes. As such, the poster authors described a quality improvement protocol that supports diabetes self-management by addressing underlying patterns of coping and life skills that can “result in cycles of escalating poor physical and mental health” in inpatient settings.

Previous literature shows that both problem-focused treatment strategies and emotion-focus coping have been useful in controlling blood glucose. In the simulation protocol, the authors highlighted several domains in which clinicians should focus their treatment plans: medication, sleep, nutrition, exercise, and social support. Social support was identified as the “single most important factor” in helping patients develop positive coping skills to adapt to life with diabetes.

The authors emphasize the importance of Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goal setting with patients as a means to implement these types of treatment plans.

“Education, goal-setting, awareness, and modification as needed, with giving credit to the success along the way is optimal and significant to promote inpatient wellness and improved outpatient sustainability in health and safety,” the researchers concluded.

Visit Clinical Advisor’s meetings section for complete coverage of APNA 2020.


Stewart A, Carlson K. Cycles of resistance and adaptation: Coping with diabetes. Presented at: APNA 34th Annual Conference; September 30-October 4, 2020. Poster 110.