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Diabetes Center

How to Manage Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common, chronic incurable diseases of childhood. Statistics indicate that the number of new cases of childhood diabetes per year exceeds the annual number of new cases of cancer in children. Most children and adolescents with diabetes require daily treatment with injected insulin for their survival. Research has shown that keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible can help prevent long term complications of diabetes such as eye, kidney and nerve damage as well as cardiovascular disease. However achieving ideal control of diabetes in childhood is challenging and can be frustrating for patients and their families.

The mission of the Children’s Hospital Diabetes Center is to help our patients achieve optimal management of diabetes while they participate fully in normal activities of childhood and adolescence. Our dedicated team strives to formulate a customized diabetes management program for the specific and changing needs of each patient and family.

Our multidisciplinary team

Pediatric diabetes nurse educators/coordinators

The goal of our diabetes nurse educators is to promote age appropriate self-management skills for each patient under the guidance of their parents and family, which will lead to excellent long-term health. Our full time diabetes nurse educators and coordinators Bachelors of Science in Nursing degrees and are Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE). They are all accredited by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE).

Together, the nursing team has over 20 years of direct experience in care of children with diabetes. Our nurses work directly with the patients and their families from initial diagnosis through early adulthood. They coordinate care and ongoing education and support for management of diabetes at home, school and other community environments. The nurses also help with changes and adjustments in management between clinic visits needed to maintain optimal glucose control, as well as helping patients with "sick day” management guidance. Our nursing team includes an insulin pump certified trainer as well as outreach and liaison to assist in various aspects of diabetes management at home, school and other community activities.

Pediatric diabetes nutrition

The goal of nutrition management is to help each child achieve and maintain normal or close to normal blood glucose levels in order to reduce the risk of complications that arise from diabetes such as cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, nephropathy, hypertension, retinopathy and amputations. The management approach also focuses on achieving normal blood pressure and lipid levels (total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and TG) through modifications of nutrient intake and healthy lifestyle changes. To achieve these goals, the dietitian works with the patient as a team member to address the individual’s nutrition needs, while taking into account personal preferences, all while maintaining the pleasure of eating by only limiting certain food choices.

Pediatric diabetes psychology support

The Psychology component of the Diabetes Center is centered on providing behavioral and psychological support and intervention to families of our patients with diabetes. Patients and their families are initially met and evaluated upon diagnosis of diabetes. The psychology team helps with supporting the family in learning how to maintain long term consistency in managing diabetes that leads to good health in the face of this chronic illness.

Special attention is given to patients and their families who have difficulty with following the long-term treatment regimen, coping with the psychological and emotional consequences of a chronic illness across the developmental period of childhood and adolescence. Psychology also provides additional assistance in treating children with underlying psychological conditions, such as depression, that may impair adequate care for diabetes. Patients are seen on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.

Patients are also screened by Psychology to determine readiness and ability for success in transition to the insulin pump therapy.

Social work

Social Workers provide a wide range of support services for families coping with the diagnosis and long term management of diabetes. We provide links for families to resources in the community which facilitate care of children with diabetes. This includes acting as a liaison with school nurses, helping with insurance and financial concerns and assisting in the transition from pediatric care to adult services.

Fellowship program

The Endocrinology Department maintains a fellowship program recognized by the American Board of Pediatrics to train the next generation of pediatric diabetes specialists. The fellows are all graduate pediatricians with special dedication to the care of children with diabetes.

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