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"I'm essentially his pancreas": Parent perceptions of diabetes burden and opportunities to reduce burden in the care of children <8 years old with type 1 diabetes.

Commissariat PV, et al. Pediatr Diabetes. 2020.


BACKGROUND: Across all age groups, management of type 1 diabetes (T1D) places substantial responsibility and emotional burden upon families. This study explored parent perceptions of the burdens of caring for very young children with T1D.

METHODS: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with parents (85% mothers) of 79 children with T1D, aged 1 to <8 years old, from four diverse pediatric diabetes clinical centers. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed using hybrid thematic analysis to derive central themes.

RESULTS: Youth (77% White) had T1D for ≥6 months: age (M ± SD) 5.2 ± 1.5 years, diabetes duration 2.4 ± 1.3 years, and A1c 63 ± 10 mmol/mol (7.9 ± 0.9%); 66% used an insulin pump and 61% used CGM. Three major themes emerged related to diabetes burdens: (a) the emotional burden of diabetes on themselves and their children, (b) the burden of finding, training, and trusting effective secondary caregivers to manage the child's diabetes, and (c) suggestions for how more comprehensive, personalized diabetes education from healthcare providers for parents and secondary caregivers could help reduce parent burden and worry.

CONCLUSIONS: In families with very young children with T1D, parental perceptions of the burden of managing diabetes are common and could be mitigated by tailored education programs that increase parent knowledge, bolster parents' confidence in themselves, and increase trust in their secondary caregivers to manage diabetes. Reduced parental burden and increased caregiver knowledge may positively impact child's glycemic control, as well as improve parent and child quality of life.

© 2019 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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