Type 1 Diabetes Program Mitigates Hospital Admissions

The STAND program prevents avoidable hospitalizations by providing type 1 diabetes information in 3 sessions.

Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO, recently launched a novel program that prevents hospital admissions for pediatric patients newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

This program is called “Strategic Transition to Ambulatory New-Onset Diabetes Education,” (STAND), according to a press release from the hospital.

Instead of admitting patients age 5 and older to the hospital, these patients and their families receive education and training about blood glucose levels. These information sessions take place during 3 outpatient visits to the hospital’s Children’s Diabetes Clinic.

Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a young age can be a shock for some families, and adding a hospitalization to that may be very stressful, according to the press release. This time can be very confusing, and even scary for parents.

"Because if you can imagine being admitted to the hospital when you're already dealing with a brand new chronic lifelong condition, it's very, very stressful," said Ryan McDonough, DO, pediatric endocrinologist, and co-director of the Children's Mercy Diabetes Center. "We're seeing some success for families who are not having to stay overnight in the hospital."

Currently, the hospital is treating 2400 pediatric patients with diabetes, and diagnose an additional 250 to 300 cases per year. In a majority of these cases, patients and their families are taught the necessary skills to treat diabetes during the sessions. By providing individuals with expansive diabetes education and training, it prevents patients from being admitted to the hospital, according to the press release.

While there is no cure, advances in technology have made diabetes management easier, especially for pediatric patients.

In the past, patients newly-diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and their family caregivers were provided with information over a shorter period of time, which can be overwhelming, according to the release. The STAND program splits the information into different sessions, and also includes time for peer-support so families can learn from each other.

Currently, no other hospitals in the Kansas region are using the STAND program, according to the press release.

"The technology and insulin pumps, the continuous glucose monitoring that we have now, all of that plays together to allow kids and their families to have a lot more flexibility with diabetes," Dr McDonough concluded. "So, instead of being diabetic, you can just be a person with diabetes."