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Keeping Kids With Diabetes Safe at School: Non-Medical Staff Can Do the Job, Study Shows

(Alexandria, VA) School children with type 1 diabetes can be safely cared for at school by a mix of medical and non-medical staff, according to a study being published in the May issue of Diabetes Care. A separate study in the same issue finds a new therapeutic approach to weight loss helps women with diabetes shed extra pounds and keep them off, when added to other lifestyle interventions.

Keeping Kids With Diabetes Safe at School: A Study From Virginia

Helping children with type 1 diabetes manage their disease during the school day can be done safely and effectively by non-medical personnel, a study in Virginia schools has shown. The study followed legislation passed in 1999 that required Virginia schools to train at least two instructional, administrative or other employees how to administer insulin and glucagon.

Surveys conducted among the parents of Central Virginia school children in the wake of this new law found that blood glucose monitoring, insulin administration and the treatment of low blood glucose episodes could be safely handled by a variety of school personnel, as well as school nurses.

“Children with diabetes spend up to half their waking hours under the supervision of the school system,” said lead researcher Dr. William L. Clarke, of the University of Virginia Department of Pediatrics. “Knowing that their diabetes can be managed safely by a variety of trained adults can be reassuring to parents, care providers, and school administrators. The Virginia legislation is a model for how non-medical personnel can be used when school nurses are unavailable.”

The study findings strengthen the American Diabetes Association’s ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and quality of care and education for all students with diabetes, through its “Safe at School” campaign. For more information about the campaign, visit diabetes.org/safeatschool.

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