Learning About Your Care: Diabetes Homework
By Dr. Allison Pollock
We see kids in the American Family Children's Hospital Pediatric Diabetes Clinic about every three months, from the time they are diagnosed, until they transition to an adult endocrinologist. Ideally, by that time, they are comfortable and independent with their diabetes care. However, the path to independence is different for every child and family, and it is our goal to provide tools that facilitate this individualized process along the way.
One way we do this is by assigning a learning goal, sometimes called homework, at clinic visits. Homework can mean a variety of things. Sometimes kids and families have a question about their diabetes care they want to find the answer to, and other times, the provider notices an area that the child could benefit from learning or practicing more.
Homework examples for a variety of stages of independence include:
- Skills: Patients practice giving their injections, changing the diabetes pump site and checking their blood sugar.
- Knowledge: Patients find out how to approach sports/exercise with diabetes and learn why we check thyroid tests every year.
- Interpretation: Patients keep a written blood sugar log and circle the high numbers in red and the low numbers in blue.
Whatever the homework, the goal is that with each visit, we safely nudge things forward toward more independence. One great resource for this transition to adulthood is our Keys to Independence booklet, which was updated in 2015.