Heidi Bucktin likes to think of her family’s life as pre and post continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) – that’s how markedly different the two periods are in their journey of living with a child with type 1 diabetes.
Before Drina, now 12, received a CGM with remote monitoring, the family was constantly tired, stressed and anxious, operating on little-to-no sleep as they took turns getting up in the night to manually check on their daughter’s blood glucose levels.
The family’s situation changed two years ago when they decided to take part in the ‘CGM and everyday diabetes care’ research trial run by the Children’s Diabetes Centre at the Telethon Kids Institute.
“The CGM with remote monitoring has made a huge improvement to our life,” Heidi said.
“It’s allowed both of us some much appreciated independence and confidence in staying within safe blood glucose levels. This technology really has been life changing for us.”
Another area the family has noticed the technology has made a real difference is with Drina’s competitive sailing.
“At least now we can monitor Drina’s (blood glucose) levels during a race without the fear of her crashing dangerously low and without dosing her with sugar to make sure she doesn't go low,” she said.
“Plus we can share the Dexcom (CGM with remote monitoring) with her coach so we don’t have to be on the water every time she trains or races. We actually get a small part of our life and sanity back while Drina gets to join in with the other kids without mum or dad hanging around all the time.”
Study lead Marie-Anne Burckhardt said the trial aimed to explore the effect of CGM with remote monitoring on psychosocial outcomes in parents of children with type 1.
“Parents of a child with type 1 diabetes live in constant fear that they will put their child to bed at night perfectly healthy but they won't wake up in the morning because their blood glucose levels have dropped to dangerously low levels (hypoglycaemia) overnight,” she said.
“We found CGM with remote monitoring reduced the fear of hypoglycaemia and as a result, quality of life and family functioning, stress, anxiety and sleep improved significantly for parents after having used CGM with remote monitoring.
“Use of such systems has the potential to reduce the disease burden for those families.
“This is the first CGM study that assessed psychosocial outcomes as a primary outcome.”
The study was recently published in the prestigious Diabetes Care journal. Read the abstract here.