Love them or hate them, but sleepovers are a popular pastime for children.
Understandably, parents of children living with type 1 diabetes might be hesitant to leave them in someone else’s care for an extended period, but there are ways to ensure that everyone is prepared for a safe experience so that the child doesn’t have to miss out on the fun.
Lauren Haddow, Perth Children’s Hospital clinical nurse diabetes educator, said it was important to inform the host parents about managing diabetes so that they felt comfortable and prepared to have the child sleep over.
It was also a good idea to provide information in writing for the host parents to refer to, she said.
“Most importantly, everyone should be aware that they can end the sleepover early if someone is uncomfortable or unsure at any point,” Mrs Haddow said.
PCH clinical nurse diabetes educator Beth Wright said it was important to reassure the host parents that the parents of the child with diabetes would be contactable for any troubleshooting or questions.
“When in doubt, call,” she said. “All parties must be contactable during the length of the sleepover.”
Other important things to consider included:
Blood glucose levels. How will the child’s BGL be monitored for the duration of the stay? Does the child need to be woken up for finger pricks during the night? Will the host parents be given access to the child’s CGM remote monitoring?
Insulin. Do the host family need to supervise the child’s injections or bolus via pump? If so, talk them through the process.
Hypo and hypers. Educate the host parents about hypos and hypers, the signs and symptoms to look out for and how to treat them.
Food. Check what food will be available and offer to carb count on behalf of the parents when you drop your child off.
Supplies. Ensure the child always has the equipment available to check their blood glucose levels when away from home; i.e. a glucose meter, lancing device, blood glucose and ketone strips. It’s also essential to pack a hypo-kit containing rapid-acting glucose such as glucose tablets, lemonade for overnight and a snack containing sustaining carbs.
Troubleshooting. Have a plan in place for common scenarios, such as:
- If pump site comes out, runs out of insulin, or if the battery fails.
- CGM calibration, sensor comes out, or if the sensor fails/ends.
- Is emergency Glucagon HypoKit education required? (YES, only if staying further than 30 minutes from an ambulance service).