Why Do Kids Needs a Diabetes Health Care Team?
When your child has diabetes, you’ll have a diabetes health care team to guide you. The team has several experts who work closely together. You’ll get to know them well.
Your team will make a personalized diabetes care plan for your child and teach you how to use it every day.
Who’s on the Team and What Do They Do?
A diabetes care team can include a number of professionals, depending on where you live or get care. A diabetes care team may include:
A doctor on the team will lead your child’s diabetes care. Often this person is a pediatric endocrinologist or diabetes specialist. They’ll stay in touch with the whole team to coordinate care and will:
- make and monitor your child’s diabetes management plan
- prescribe and adjust insulin as needed
- answer your questions
Your child’s primary care provider (usually a pediatrician or family doctor) will still provide care as usual and stay in contact with the diabetes care team.
Nurses and Diabetes Educators
Nurses and diabetes educators can help you put your child’s care plan into practice every day. They will:
- explain what diabetes is and how it affects the body
- teach you and your child how to give insulin injections or use an insulin pump
- explain how to treat high and low blood sugar levels
- show you how to adjust medicines for exercise and sick days
- show you how to test blood sugar levels, work the blood glucose meter, and test the accuracy of blood sugar monitoring equipment used at home
- check on progress with the care plan goals
- discuss any challenges
A Registered Dietitian
A registered dietitian will guide you on meal planning to help keep your child’s blood sugars steady. Your child’s dietitian will:
- teach you to read labels, count carbohydrates (carbs), and adjust meals
- track your child's growth and activity to calculate calories your child needs
- share recipe and snack ideas
- communicate with the care team
- answer your questions about meal planning, carb counting, and blood sugars
A Mental Health Provider
It can take time to get used to living with diabetes, and sometimes your family may need extra support. A mental health provider can be a social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor. They can:
- give ideas to help your child adjust at home, work, or school
- assist your child as they cope with new feelings or routines
- share advice to help siblings adjust
- connect you to support groups or services (like financial help to pay for supplies)
Some kids with diabetes will have a care manager, who helps make sure a family is able to follow the care plan. If a family has a hard time getting healthy foods or filling prescriptions, the care manager can help and offer solutions. Sometimes a care manager might visit you in your home.
What Else Should I Know?
Depending on your child’s unique needs, there may be other health care professionals on the team too. Whether your child’s team is small or large, everyone on the team will be eager to teach and give your family support. They share your goal of helping your child to live a long and healthy life. Stay connected with the team and be sure to ask any questions.