ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2017) 51 P080 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.51.P080

School based management of type 1 diabetes in Northern Ireland: A parent's perception

Sam Ethell1, Sarinda Millar2 & Shifa Liana1


1Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK; 2Southern Health and Social Care Trust - Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry, UK.


Type 1 diabetes is a significant condition affecting school aged children with an increasing incidence in the UK. The effects of a chronic condition such as diabetes on a child can be dramatic and are particularly evident within the school setting. The impact of this condition can also be seen on parents, affecting their career, income and quality of life. Hence, this audit aims to identify the difficulties encountered by children in mainstream education, the impact of school based management on parents and their occupation, as well as the input of specialist diabetic nurses. Questionnaires were sent to the parents of all children (n=278) with type 1 diabetes under the age of 18 who attend a diabetes service at a medium sized regional hospital in Northern Ireland. The questionnaire comprised both open and closed questions relating to the contribution of the school to diabetes management, problems encountered, work difficulties experienced by the parents associated with school based diabetes care, and an assessment of the impact of the school based diabetes management on the child’s and parent’s wellbeing. 62 questionnaires (31 primary and 31 secondary school children) were included in the study. Areas of concern identified included; exclusion from school activities and trips, staff unwillingness to participate in blood glucose monitoring and insulin administration, and a significant impact on parent’s occupation initially following diagnosis. Parents quoted good communication, a schools previous experience of pupils with diabetes and a positive attitude from staff as reassuring features. Nurse lead training of school staff, and individualised care plan management were also well received by parents. The inclusion of children with diabetes in schools has greatly improved over the last decade, however it is evident that still more can be done. The exclusion of pupils from school activities and trips can have a marked impact on both the pupil and their parents, with a lack of understanding and education by those providing care in school at the heart of the problem. In conclusion, further emphasis on the education of staff in diabetes management and general understanding of the condition is strongly recommended.

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