Discovering that your child has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can be an overwhelming experience, causing many questions to surface for parents and families. But thanks to recent investments by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, there is growing support for Saskatchewan families and a dedicated team working to improve pediatric care across the province.
“It’s important when children are diagnosed with diabetes that parents are supported in learning about the condition, participating in the routines and sharing management decisions,” explains Leslie Worth, manager with LiveWell Chronic Disease Management with Saskatoon Health Region. “As they get older, they will learn how to care for themselves, but parents still play an important role in a child's health care team.
Worth manages Saskatchewan’s Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes team.
Saskatchewan’s Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes team
In October, the team hosted “A Day of Diabetes Discovery for the Family” in Saskatoon through the support of the Canadian Diabetes Association. Through the course of this day, there were educational sessions and fun activities for both parents and children. These types of education days are all part of the important work being undertaken by this team.
“It’s important for families to still enjoy all the normal milestones and childhood experiences. Living with diabetes should not change those experiences,” says Worth. “Our team focuses on self-management or the development of self-care skills with the children and their families to give families this opportunity.”
Fun at Diabetes Day Diabetes Day participants
Over the past few years, investments in this program have increased the ability of this team to better support Saskatchewan families. This includes the hiring of pediatric diabetes nurses, a pediatric diabetes dietitian, a pediatric endocrine nurse, a social worker and an administrative assistant. This team also now included two pediatric endocrinologists.
“We have seen tremendous improvements in our ability to provide pediatric diabetes care,” explains Munier Nour, pediatric endocrinologist with Saskatoon Health Region and University of Saskatchewan. “With the majority of our team now in place, we have been able to improve access to patient care, decrease wait times for new patient consultations and improve access to labor intensive patient training and testing, particularly for those who are newly diagnosed and in need of initial teaching and ongoing management. It’s exciting, but we know we have much more to do.”
This team forms the strongest foundation pediatric diabetes care has seen in Saskatchewan in years, and they are now examining how to strengthen the provincial program in order to fulfill a vision of bringing pediatric care closer to home for those outside of Saskatoon.
“Our next goal is to bolster support and resources outside of the Saskatoon Health Region,” says Nour. “Building a provincial program that will improve patient health outcomes and quality of life, truly transform health care and put patients first.”