Your child's diabetes care team
By Barbara Floria, Pure Matters
Having a child with diabetes can be overwhelming. Fortunately, a team of experts can guide you now and in the years to come.
"The core of your child's diabetes team is you and your family," says Francine Kaufman, past president of the American Diabetes Association. "Add to that a group of knowledgeable health care professionals, and you're well on your way to creating a care team that works for your child."
Diabetes care team
Your child may see the following specialists.
- Doctor. Your child's doctor may be a diabetes specialist, pediatrician or general practitioner who has experience caring for people with diabetes. Make sure both you and your child feel comfortable asking questions and that you understand the explanations given.
- Diabetes educator. A certified diabetes educator (CDE) is trained to help you and your child learn about diabetes and make adjustments in diabetes care. A diabetes educator can give you and your child a better understanding of the biology of diabetes, practical help in fitting diabetes care into your lifestyle and guidance in the correct techniques for giving injections or checking blood glucose. Your doctor can recommend a CDE in your area.
- Dietitian. A dietitian can help you and your child create a healthful eating plan. It's a good idea to consult a dietitian at least once a year.
- Mental health professional. It can be hard to adjust to diabetes. A counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker can help you and your child cope.
- Ophthalmologist. Children with diabetes should have their eyes checked by an ophthalmologist three to five years after being diagnosed, and regularly thereafter.
- Pharmacist. A pharmacist can help you choose the diabetes supplies that are right for your child. As much as possible, empower your child to take charge of his or her diabetes care.
"As children grow and develop, they are able to do more of the diabetes tasks required to manage the condition," says Ms. Kaufman. "At any age, the child should be encouraged to ask questions and bring his or her concerns about diabetes care to you and the diabetes care team."
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