Teaching the teachers about managing Type 1 diabetes

Type1 Diabetes
Teaching the teachers about managing Type 1 diabetes
01 December 2015

STAFF at local schools in the Bury and North Manchester areas can now be confident when dealing with any issues surrounding the care of children with diabetes, thanks to a new education programme.

Kirstin Williams, paediatric diabetes specialist nurse at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Claire O’Connor, paediatric diabetes specialist nurse for Bury, employed by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, have set up specialist training on the management and care required for children with type 1 diabetes in schools.

The sessions are informative and discuss current practice including scenarios and practical aspects in diabetes care.

Kirstin from Pennine Acute said: “The sessions are targeted at early years settings at primary, secondary schools and colleges that have a child or young person that attends with type 1 diabetes. The aim of the sessions is to provide school staff including teachers, teaching assistants and dinner ladies with the knowledge and skills of managing type 1 diabetes whilst the child is in their care. This can be purely a supervisory role, however many schools have small children that require blood glucose testing and insulin injections whilst at school.

“We aim the session at a basic level ensuring that we use appropriate terminology and stress throughout the sessions that each child should have an individualised plan of care to support their medical condition whilst at school, as children’s treatment will vary. Some children will be very self-sufficient teenagers in managing their diabetes, however school staff still need to be appropriately trained to manage emergency situations that potentially can occur.

“The sessions include a parent’s experience of managing their child’s condition and staff also have the opportunity to gain practical skills in glucometer training and insulin injections. ‘Dummy’ injection sites and pens allow school staff to practice under supervision and this has proved a real success as the staff initially felt daunted about injecting.”

Over 100 staff have been trained since September this year and feedback has been excellent with Laura Cunliffe from Cheetham Primary School in Manchester saying: “The practical experience has made me feel much more confident.”

Chris Wilson from Our Lady of Lourdes School in Bury, said: “This training will be very beneficial in the future as I didn’t have any idea before about diabetes and now I do.”

Claire O’Connor, paediatric diabetes specialist nurse at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Children spend a large proportion of their time in school, so Kirstin and I felt it was important to empower education staff to confidently, safely and effectively support children with type 1 diabetes.

“It’s been great to receive such positive feedback from the staff and know that they feel better equipped to provide support and handle an emergency situation.

“By working in partnership with other professionals in this way, we can enhance the care and support that we already provide to these young people, and their families, and ensure they experience the very best quality of life.”

The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust manages The Royal Oldham Hospital, North Manchester General Hospital, Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, Rochdale Infirmary and community services.