Sending their child to school can be stressful for any parent, as there are so many unknowns involved. However, it can be even more of a challenge for those whose children are suffering from a serious condition such as Type 1 Diabetes. If there are issues during the day, it’s important that staff know how to address them. Here at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, we can help you to draw up a comprehensive diabetes management plan for your child.
This document will contain all relevant information related to their condition, so everyone will know their needs and what to do in an emergency. What’s more, it will also state when to inform the parents about changes in the child’s behavior, so they can take appropriate action. Today, let’s have a closer look at why you should set up such a plan and what to include in it.
What Is a Diabetes Management Plan and How Can It Help?
Type 1 diabetes is a serious condition, and if it isn’t managed correctly, your child’s life could be put at risk. For this reason, it’s crucial that all teachers and school staff know how to help your child should a problem arise. What’s more, they need to be aware that your child might have different requirements to other students, and their needs should be respected at all times.
A comprehensive management plan can help everyone understand your child’s condition better. What’s more, it will prevent you from worrying about them during the day, since you know that they are well taken care of at school. If there is an emergency, the teachers will know how to deal with it, and you will be contacted as soon as possible.
Information for Everyone
The primary reason why most doctors advise a management plan is that it allows everyone to have the necessary information. At your son or daughter’s school, there might be several teachers who are already knowledgeable about Type 1 diabetes and have the relevant qualifications. Your plan will specify that they should be the primary caregivers if something happens.
As long as all members of staff have access to the plan, they will be able to call the relevant teacher or nurse, who can then offer your child the assistance they need. Similarly, there will be information about your child’s day-to-day needs. They might need to snack more often, drink a lot of water, or be excused from certain physical activities. The plan can help teachers understand these requirements.
Increased Peace of Mind
For the parent, sending a child with a serious medical condition to school can be extremely worrying. However, homeschooling isn’t always an option, and you might have determined that the social interaction your child gets at school is important for their development. By creating a comprehensive management plan, you can reduce the stress you feel and be more comfortable about your decision to let your child attend your local school.
Provisions for Emergencies
Children with Type 1 diabetes often go through stages. Sometimes, it is very easy for them to manage their condition, and they can enjoy reasonably normal days. However, hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia could happen without much warning, and your child might suddenly feel unwell during class. If a teacher doesn’t know the student very well and they haven’t dealt with this condition before, they may not know how to best react.
But when your diabetes management plan is at hand, for example in your child’s backpack or in their desk, they will be able to act in the best interests of your child. Even if there is a substitute teacher, your child is attending a class trip, or they are outside on the playground, the information related to their condition will be readily available.
What Do I Need To Include?
There are many benefits to creating a comprehensive plan for your child. In the most extreme case, it can prevent them from having to go to the hospital, or it could even save their life. Thus, you need to be very careful and include all the relevant information when creating it.
Speaking to a doctor experienced with childhood diabetes is the best course of action. They can examine your child’s individual situation and their level of self-sufficiency, then help you draw up the best plan possible.
When something goes wrong, every school employee needs to know whom to get in touch with. This could be you, your spouse, or another emergency contact. The more people you list, the more likely one of you will be able to respond right away. For this reason, the contact details should be at the top of your management plan.
The teachers and nurses experienced with Type 1 diabetes should be listed, as well. That way, there will be someone within the school who can provide immediate assistance during an emergency.
Basic Diabetes Care
Most children will need to monitor their blood glucose throughout the day. In your plan, you should note what type of blood glucose meter is used, what the target range should be, when it should be used, and where on their body your child likes to be tested. You should also record whether your child is able to do this on their own or whether a teacher or nurse will need to help them.
Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia Care
Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood glucose level is too low. The symptoms are unique to each child, but they are likely to include fatigue, pale skin, sweating, hunger, and irritability. Make a note of what to do during a hypoglycemia event and where to find supplies, such as a juice box or non-melting candy, which could help your child get better.
Hyperglycemia is when there is too much glucose in your child’s blood, and they might feel nausea, have fruity-smelling breath, a dry mouth, and weakness. Provide instructions on what to do during event and when to provide insulin.
A key component of your child’s diabetes management plan is information regarding insulin therapy. There are various methods of administering insulin, and you should make a note of whether your child uses a pump, a syringe, or a pen and what type of insulin they receive. What’s more, you’ll need to let the teachers know about the frequency of this therapy and which aspects of it the child can manage on their own.
Information about Mealtimes and Physical Activity
Your child will have a different meal and snack schedule to everyone else, and you should develop a plan with the school nurse if possible. If blood glucose is low, your child might need to eat earlier, even if this means having a snack during their class.
Similarly, they should always have water available to them and drink frequently. In most cases, your child will be able to participate in sports activities, but PE teachers need to be especially aware of the plan and have the blood glucose meter, snacks, and water readily available at all times.
Any Other Crucial Information
The above-mentioned factors are the most important, and they should be included in every management plan. However, your child may have additional needs depending on their condition and the school’s requirements. For example, you will need to make sure the bus driver has access to the plan if they take a school bus.
Similarly, you’ll need to make plans for field trips ahead of time. If your child is still very young, it might be sensible for one of the parents to accompany them on the first few trips. However, this shouldn’t be a requirement, and the school has to make provisions for your child. Most importantly, there should always be trained diabetes personnel on hand to help out in case of an emergency.
Ensure Your Child’s Safety at School Now
If your child has Type 1 diabetes, you might be worried about sending them to school. A diabetes management plan can be a great way to significantly reduce the risk and make sure everyone knows what to do if a challenging situation should arise. What’s more, it can help all teachers to understand the conditions and to cater to your child’s individual needs.
Setting up the management plan can be a challenge because you need to make sure you’re not leaving out anything crucial. For this reason, it’s often advisable to work together with a doctor who has experience with this process. They will help you tailor the plan to your child’s situation and make sure every potential problem is addressed. Call us now at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA to book your appointment with one of our specialists.