Parents Struggle with Child's Diabetes Diagnosis

JUNE 01, 2005

A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes often sends parents on an emotional roller coaster and requires months of adjustment, indicated the results of a study reported in the Journal of Advanced Nursing (May 2005). United Kingdom researchers evaluated 40 interviews with parents of newly diagnosed children with type 1 diabetes. They learned that parents were not prepared for the diagnosis because they believed that their children's initial symptoms were caused by curable ailments.

"Suddenly normal childhood routines are replaced with insulin injections, blood glucose monitoring, regular mealtimes, and increased vigilance,"said lead investigator Lesley Lowes, PhD, MSc. She also noted that parents raised concerns about the long-term effects of the disease. Dr. Lowes suggested that parents of a child with diabetes ask health care professionals "as many questions as they need,"and reach out to other parents of children with the disease for support and empathy.

The researchers concluded that a majority of the parents accepted the diagnosis within 4 months and adapted to the changes. At 12 months, all the parents had adjusted, seeing the changes as part of their "everyday lives."