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Diabetes Educ. 2012 Jan-Feb;38(1):50-7. doi: 10.1177/0145721711432457. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

Development and pilot testing of a parent education intervention for type 1 diabetes: parent education through simulation-diabetes.

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  • 1University of Massachusetts, Worcester, 55 Lake Ave North, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.



To purpose of the pilot study was to evaluate the use of a pediatric human patient simulator (HPS) to teach parents diabetes management for their children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, referred to as Parent Education Through Simulation-Diabetes.


A focus group study and 2 pilot studies (1-group study and a randomized 2-group study) were used to develop and test a teaching intervention. Parents were recruited from the Pediatric Diabetes Clinic at UMass Memorial Medical Center. A brainstorming group (n = 6) discussed the simulator concept and what modifications would be necessary to enhance parent teaching; the authors also developed the initial hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia teaching vignettes. Two focus groups (n = 13) discussed the acceptance of using a simulator and the timing and content of the teaching sessions. Based on their recommendations, a 1-group pretest-posttest pilot was conducted with parents (n = 10) receiving hypoglycemia education enhanced with the HPS, followed by a randomized 2-group pilot study (n = 16). Findings The focus group participants enthusiastically supported the use of the pediatric HPS after diagnosis and made recommendations for the timing and content of the teaching sessions. Major findings from the pilot work included (1) successful recruitment of 16 participants from only 1 site within 6 weeks, (2) instrument reliability demonstrated for all scales, and (3) mean change from baseline in the predicted direction for all measures.


The HPS has the potential of providing parents an innovative means of learning diabetes management through visualization during the early months after diagnosis and so warrants a powered study to determine its efficacy.

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