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Conquering Diabetes: How This Program Helps You and Your Child

Children's Health
Author name: Lee Health


Children's Diabetes Graphic

Type 1 diabetes is most often diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, and now more kids are developing type 2 diabetes. No matter the type of diabetes, good management is important to avoid or delay related health complications.

But how do you know if you and your child are equipped with the best resources and education to successfully manage this chronic condition?

One answer to the question came in January when the Golisano Pediatric Outpatient Diabetes Program was recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for meeting the national standards for diabetes self-management education and support.

Toni Tilley, R.N., and a Certified Diabetic Educator, spearheaded ADA approval of the program with support from Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida’s team of pediatric endocrinology providers. 

She answers some of our questions about the program and what the recognition means for our community.

Q:  Break it down for us. What’s so important about the recognition?

A: The recognition means that our program’s educational services meet the ADA’s National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES). These were developed and tested under the auspices of the National Diabetes Advisory Board.

More simply, we’ve been recognized for offering high-quality education provided by a staff of knowledgeable health professionals who are experts in diabetes treatment, management, and care.

Our providers teach, coach, and guide your child to understand how diabetes affects their personal lives and empower them to identify healthy habits and behaviors that will contribute to their quality of life. In turn, this helps prevent unnecessary hospital admissions as well as acute and chronic complications of diabetes.

In all of Florida, the ADA recognizes only nine pediatric diabetes programs. And we’re one of them. It’s an elite group!

Q: How does the program work if my child has been diagnosed with diabetes?

A: Any child with diabetes is eligible to receive an education. Children are diagnosed at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, then referred to us for education. Our team of experts stays with you and your child from their initial diagnosis through treatment and follow-up care. We follow up with them every three months for the rest of their lives.

Our program helps children:

  • Understand their diabetes diagnosis and treatment options
  • Understand how their medications work, including the action, side effects, efficacy, prescribed dosage and more
  • Understand how to use their diabetes devices, such as blood glucose meters, insulin pens, insulin pumps, and continuous glucose monitor
  • Adopt healthy eating habits through nutrition education, including meal-planning, and carbohydrate counting
  • Develop problem-solving skills to self-manage their diabetes for high and low blood sugars and during illness
  • Understand how to prevent long-term complications
  • Understand how to access resources for support
  • Develop skills to make successful behavior changes
  • Coordinate with the child’s school to provide a safe and healthy learning environment

Q: Does insurance cover Golisano’s Pediatric Outpatient Diabetes Program?

A: Our educational services are covered by Medicare and some insurances. We have to recertify the program every four years, which involves a lot of working parts. We’re staying ahead of the curve in diabetes education and management, though. That’s why the ADA recognized us.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34.2 million people or 10.5% of the population in the United States have diabetes. While an estimated 26.8 million have been diagnosed, unfortunately, 7.3 million people are not aware that they have the disease.

Many will first learn that they have diabetes when they are treated for one of its life-threatening complications – heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve disease and amputation.

The American Diabetes Association is the nation’s leading non-profit health organization supporting diabetes research, advocacy and information for health professionals, people with diabetes and the public. Founded in 1940, the Association continues to support people affected by diabetes nationwide.

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