A big part of being a kid is having sleepovers at friends' places but often children with diabetes miss out because their parents are too anxious to leave their child in someone else’s care.
According to Fran Delos Santos, nurse educator within our Children's Diabetes Centre, children with diabetes needn’t miss out on the fun as long as host parents are armed with the right management information and tools.
Here are her top tips for parents thinking of leaving their child in someone else’s care:
□ Do the host parents know the symptoms of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) particular to the child and how to manage it? Hypoglycaemia is usually very easily managed if prepared:
Ensure the child always has the equipment available to check their blood glucose levels when away from home, such as a glucometer, lancing device, blood glucose and ketone strips.
Ensure the child comes packed with a source of rapid-acting glucose such as glucose tablets, lemonade or a carbohydrate containing long-acting snack.
□ Do the host parents know the symptoms of hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) and how to manage it? *NOTE IF KETONES ARE PRESENT OR IF THE CHILD IS VOMITING, THEY SHOULD GO HOME*
□ Ensure the host family have your contact number and that you are accessible in case they need to call.
□ Do the host parents know how to do a blood glucose check? Blood glucose levels should be checked pre meals, if symptomatic, and ideally twice during the night due to the change in routine.
□ Do the host family need to supervise your child’s injections or bolus via pump? If so, talk them through the process.
□ If your child is on a pump and you are worried about overnight hypos, show your host family how to temporarily decrease the basal rate using the temp basal feature. High blood glucose levels can be corrected in the morning.
□ Is your child on continuous glucose monitoring? If using a device that links to a mobile phone, set the host parent up to obtain remote access to readings, which will give alerts when the child is having a hypo. Some CGM devices also link to pumps and switch off insulin delivery if the child is predicted to go low – this may be a handy safety feature to have on during a sleepover.
□ Check to see if meals and snacks to be provided by the host family are appropriate.
For more information, please speak to your diabetes team on 9340 8090.