High school students with type 1diabetes (T1D) frequently report the need to justify to school staff why they need to take time out of class to carry out essential diabetes management tasks.
The aim of this project was to develop an advocacy tool for high school students with type 1diabetes that enables them to manage their diabetes in the school setting and minimise class disruption.
We collaborated with students with T1D, parents and carers to identify common barriers faced whilst trying to carry out diabetes management tasks at school. In addition, we also liaised with various schools within the Hunter region in order to understand the needs and concerns of school staff in relation to the management of students with T1D. We created a simple card system that is individualised to each student’s diabetes management plan. The cards are signed off by the school principal and contain both our hospital and the school logos. A letter of introduction was sent to schools to implement the cards, to explain how the card is intended to be used and to provide further information for school staff. Students are able to present this card to the classroom teacher to discreetly explain the need to leave the room in order to carry out tasks such as blood glucose monitoring and insulin administration.
We have provided cards to 18 high schools in the Hunter region, equating to approximately 33 students. Feedback from students, parents and schools has been positive. Slight changes have since been made to the cards since initial implementation following feedback. We plan to roll out the cards to all high school students within the John Hunter Children’s Hospital diabetes clinic by end of semester 1 2017. The cards will be in line with each child’s individualised school management plan.