After more than 25 years in the diabetes space, clinical nurse and credentialled diabetes educator Maxine Schlaeppi has retired.
Many people with type 1 diabetes living in the Peel region would have come across Maxine at some point — she, alongside Dr Gerry Fegan, established the Young Adult Diabetes Clinic at Rockingham General Hospital in 2007 to make the transition from child to adult health services smoother for young people with type 1 diabetes.
“We established the clinic in response to a 30 per cent failure of follow-up after transitioning from Princess Margaret Hospital to adult tertiary hospital care in Western Australia, resulting in poor diabetes control and complications of diabetes,” she said.
“We understand that young adults with diabetes have unique health needs, which may impact upon this transition. We aim to bridge the gap from the paediatric to the adult self-managing healthcare system by reducing the barriers of change and lessening the non-attendance and/or drop-out rate and to assist with the development of independence in diabetes management by these young adults.”
Since the establishment of the service, there has been an active transition program developed and led by Maxine and Dr Ken Thong. More than 95 per cent of all patients transitioned to the Rockingham Young Adult Team attend their first appointment. More importantly, more than 90 per cent are still attending the Rockingham Young Adult service five years from transition to adult diabetes care.
Maxine trained at Princess Margaret Hospital and has more than 26 years of diabetes experience. She was the Coordinator of Rockingham Endocrinology and Diabetes Service for Rockingham General Hospital since its inception and was employed by the Waikiki Diabetes Nurse Practitioner Service. She was the recipient of Diabetes Australia’s 2015 Health Professional of the Year Award and multiple other awards.
Dr Catherine Choong, a consultant paediatric endocrinologist at Perth Children’s Hospital, said Maxine had been a pleasure to work with and many of her suggestions had been adapted by the team over the years.
“We have truly appreciated your efforts, and this has resulted in the very best transition service for our patients with the requisite patience and flexibility from your team to ensure successful transition and ongoing support of these young adults,” she said.
We wish Maxine well in her retirement.
The NDSS recently updated its “Moving on Up” transition booklet. The resource is for young people with type 1 diabetes (and their parents/guardians) transitioning from child to adult health care services. Find it here.