Children with diabetes
In Berkshire, and based at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (RBFT) in Reading, there is a team of specialist children’s nurses who work in the community setting to meet the individual health needs of children and families, in their own home, school or respite centre.
The Children’s Community Nursing team provide a service to children across the west of Berkshire and have a specialist children’s nurse dedicated to looking after children with diabetes.
A booklet describing the service they offer can be seen by clicking here
The diabetes specialist children’s nurse usually sees children 4 times a year, in addition to their annual review. In addition, the nurse provides a structured education programme for children, adapted by age group, and usually timed to take place in the school holidays. One – to – one education is provided for teenagers however, as they are all so different; this education is usually provided during one of their normal clinics visits. In addition, a one-off education session is provided at the end of primary school (aged 11 years) to advise about looking after themselves and their diabetes following the move to secondary school.
As most children are Type 1 diabetics, most will be treated with insulin. About 25% of the diabetic children in Berkshire West are using insulin pumps. Care and attention needs to be given that, after some time using the pump, the child or teenager using the insulin pump doesn’t become too blasé about their treatment, which may lead to poor control.
If your child is being treated with multiple daily injections (Basal Bolus Regime), there is a leaflet with further information available on the link below:
Almost all of the children with diabetes check their diet by carbohydrate-counting (“carb-counting”). The Roche meter used for finger prick blood testing at home (which is the current contract) helps to count carbohydrates and then will calculate the amount of insulin required.
Being a teenager with diabetes can be a particularly challenging time for them and for parents and carers. Recognising that teenagers have different needs, care in Berkshire West is currently provided in a transition care/ young adult clinic for 16-25 year olds.
In 2012, new national guidelines were produced for children’s care which state that specialist paediatric care should be provided for teenagers until they are 19 years old. The specialist teams across Berkshire West are currently working through the implementation of these guidelines.
From the age of 16, and once the teenager feels ready, they will be allowed to go into clinic on their own; and encouraged to take responsibility for having blood tests and other checks done. From the age 17 ¾, all appointments will be in the young adult clinic, with a paediatric nurse and adult Doctor, as this will allow a handover period from children’s care to adult care from the age of 18-19 yrs.
Your hospital consultant or Children’s Community Nurse will be able to provide you with up to date information about this.
There is an information leaflet about the children’s diabetes clinic available here:
There is more information about children’s care on the Paediatric Unit pages of the RBFT website.
There is a lot of specialist support for children with diabetes and their parents. The diabetes specialist children’s nurse puts lots of parents (especially those with teenagers) in touch with other parents, to talk to for support.
There is a parent group that meets 4 times a year in Wokingham – they also organise fundraising activities.
The following websites have useful information specifically aimed at children and their parents:
Diabetes UK: Children and Diabetes (including information for parents, tailored information for children and teenagers; how diabetes is treated in children, what children can eat, carb-counting, etc)
Also on these pages there is a new website for children, teenagers and young adults with diabetes: visit My Life
Diabete.co.uk - This web-site has lots of useful information on all aspects of diabetes, for example: Type 1 Diabetes and Children
There is also a special area for children around the ages 7 to 13 with diabetes and their parents – Kids Section
And information for teenagers with diabetes
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Ltd (JDRF) also has a lot of useful information:
- for children: the T1 Kids website
- information - for parents
- specifically for teenagers
- The "Talking T1" packs for primary and secondary schools
All children need to maintain a healthy weight and this includes diabetic children too. There are many ways that parents can encourage children to become more active; for example, by encouraging them to play games that involve moving around a lot rather than spending many hours in front of the television of a computer screen.
As a family, you might like to go for walks, go swimming or cycling, or find other ways of increasing your exercise together.
NHS Berkshire West Public Health has developed an exciting new healthy lifestyle programme for primary school children called Let's Get Going. Let’s get Going aims to improve health, wellbeing and the quality of life of children aged 8 -11 years to enable them to be more physically active and eat a healthier diet.
Further information is available by:
Telephone - 0118 9822939
E-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org