January 18, 2018 By Elizabeth McCammon
Photo of mother, and daughter and son

High school is a time of pimples and raging hormones for many kids, but a new study reveals that young people with type 1 diabetes face additional—and more serious— challenges, especially as they move from childhood to adult care.

For this study, which was published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care in August 2017, researchers from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal interviewed diabetes care providers from 12 health-care centres across Quebec They found that young people with type 1 diabetes face many challenges during this period, including a lack of adult health-care providers, less flexibility in scheduling appointments in adult health care, and struggles with new responsibilities, such as starting university or college, getting a job, or moving away from home. The diabetes care providers also noted a lack of standardized policies, procedures, and training for staff on how best to guide young people through these changes. Previous studies have shown that young adults (18 to 25 years) with chronic illnesses, such as type 1 diabetes, are at risk of falling through gaps in care and not having regular follow-ups.

According to Dr. Jan Hux,president of Diabetes Canada (which helped to fund the McGill study), adolescence is a time when young people may start to rebel against the daily demands of diabetes management. “As noted in Diabetes Canada’s 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada, there needs to be a well-prepared and supported move to adult care that includes a transition coordinator, patient reminders, and education,” she says. “Having strong transitional care and support as they move to this new stage of life can have a great impact on their lives. As this study points out, more work needs to be done to ensure these needs are being effectively met.”

As children grow into young adults, they need to learn the details of their condition and how to care for themselves. Read more from “Teens & Diabetes” now.

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