Effective education for diabetes self-management

Meetings between teenagers with T1D and their family members.

A young person's diabetes involves the whole family, and often becomes an important element in the relationship between parents and children. Problems - different at different ages - are both of practical(correct execution of injections and blood sugar measurements,interpretation of results and appropriate interventions on insulin doses and nutrition, management of the pump, etc.), and psychological (grief of the parent for the "sick" child, fear of making mistakes, "terror" of nocturnal hypoglycemias, ambivalence towards autonomy - often desired but feared by both parties, etc.).

When the child is small, the daily management of diabetes is entrusted to the parents, and this new responsibility often generates fears that sometimes remain unexpressed and risk spoiling family relationships. Since 2007, educators who collaborate with the ComET have adopted the narrative-autobiographical approach during weekends of listening and caring for groups of parents of children with type-1 diabetes (while the children were entertained nearby).

The experience of summer camps with adolescents and their testimony of the difficulties encountered, both in care and in the relationship with family members - in particular parents - led us to plan meetings during which young patients and parents work independently in separate groups for a whole weekend, but in the end the thoughts of one and the other are shared and compared, always safeguarding anonymity.

Below, the report of the first two of these meetings, we organized with ADIG-Lazio and AGD-Viterbo.

6-7 /10 2012, Albano Laziale(RM), Hotel Miralago. Participants 35 (17 of the ADIG-Lazio and 18 of the AGD-Viterbo): Parents 19; Children with diabetes 11 (aged 14-19); Brothers and sisters 5, two of whom (aged 13 and 16) participated in the activities of young people, and three (of 8, 10 and 11) were entertained by an animator. The groups were moderated by two educators; participating doctors 5.

 

 

1-3 July 2016, Roccaraso, Hotel Concad'Oro. Participants: 12 adolescents with type-1 diabetes aged 13-18; 10 fathers and 12 mothers. The group of young people also joined 4 non-diabetic siblings (one of whom being a monozygotic twin of a patient). Two parents had to take care of the last born of only 2 years, and they took turns in participating in group work. The groups were led by the two educators, with the participation of the organizers, the three diabetes pediatricians who are in charge of the young diabetics, and a psychologist. The organizational aspects have been taken care of by ADIG-Lazio and AGD-Viterbo. The coverage of participants' expenses (diabetics and operators) was possible thanks to an unconditional donation of Ypsomed to ADIG-Lazio.