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Diabetes Care. 2007 Jun;30(6):1396-8. Epub 2007 Mar 10.

Safe at school: a Virginia experience.

Author information

1
Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The Commonwealth of Virginia passed legislation in 1999 requiring nonmedical school personnel to assist students with the management of type 1 diabetes when school nurses were unavailable. This study was designed to determine which school personnel in Virginia currently assist type 1 diabetic students with insulin administration and management of hypoglycemia and to determine if these students are being cared for in a safe manner.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:

Parents of children with type 1 diabetes who attended public school in Virginia during the previous year and who were receiving their diabetes care at the University of Virginia diabetes clinics were asked to participate in an anonymous survey. The survey asked parents which school personnel were responsible for their child's diabetes care while at school and which persons helped with specific care tasks including blood glucose monitoring, insulin administration, and assistance with treatment of hypoglycemia. Questions were asked regarding the occurrence and treatment of hypoglycemia and any adverse effects of such treatment.

RESULTS:

A total of 185 parents whose children attended 153 different schools responded, 69% of whom reported that a full-time school nurse was assigned to their child's school. In other schools, teachers, administrators, coaches, and cafeteria workers supplemented part-time nurses in assisting students with diabetes management tasks. Although hypoglycemia was not a rare event (75% of students experienced a median of five episodes per year), only one severe event requiring the use of glucagon was reported. In that case, glucagon was administered appropriately by a part-time school nurse, and the student experienced no adverse effects related to the treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Students with type 1 diabetes can be cared for safely during the school day by a variety of trained medical and nonmedical personnel. The occurrence of one severe hypoglycemic event among 185 students suggests that as many as 3% of students could experience severe hypoglycemia in a given school year. Legislation that permits nonmedical school personnel to assist students with their diabetes management could make the diabetic children's school day safer and improve their overall glucose control.

PMID:
17351272
DOI:
10.2337/dc07-0121
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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