Managing Diabetes at School

Managing Type 1 (insulin-dependant) diabetes at school can be very tricky.

The job of a people with diabetes (PWD) is to keep their blood glucose level (BGL) in a strict range (72-180mg/dl, or 4-10mmol/l). Insulin makes the BGL go down; but too low and they quickly become vague and eventually unconscious. Sugar and carbohydrates make the BGL go up; but too high too often leads to kidney and eye damage and blindness. It is extremely tricky for an adult get this balance right, both in counting carbs exactly, and getting the timing right, especially as exercise also makes BGL go down, and stress, hormones, sickness make the BGL go up. It requires constant vigilance all day, every day, without let-up, year after year, for the rest of their life.

Even more tricky, is that once insulin is injected (by syringe, pen or pump), it takes 30 minutes to start working, and then stays active for 3-4 hours.¬†That means that a child’s breakfast insulin will often still be active at ‘fruit snack’ time, so if fruit snack is delayed by an impromptu assembly, the child’s BGL will get low. If sport is skipped in the first few weeks of term while the timetable is being refined, the child’s BGL will be high.

So a child must balance this time-sensitive regime of blood testing, insulin and carbohydrates with a school program that can vary considerably, with impromptu assemblies ‘bumping’ normal activities, special programs, excursions and incursions, exercise, absent teachers, fill-in or specialist teachers, after school activities like tennis or football or hockey, cake from school birthdays and more.

The child’s home room teacher also must handover the child’s current status to each specialist teacher such as music, sport, creative movement, art, and then back again at the end of the activity.

So how can help? allows every teacher and carer to see what the child’s BGL is, and whether it is heading up (e.g. after a snack or meal before insulin starts to really work) or down (e.g. 40 minutes after a meal), and if a low is predicted, and when to test for it, and exactly what corrective action to take. The teacher can get this information on their PC or Mac, their iPhone or Smart Phone.

  • The child, home room teacher, specialist teacher or nurse enters BGLs as they are taken
    • If the child’s BGL is low, Jade tells exactly how much food to give
    • If the child’s BGL is high, Jade tells exactly how much insulin to give.
  • When a meal is eaten, the home room teacher enters the amount of carbs at the time it is consumed (these values can be preset), or the parent enters this from home at the start of the day, and the teacher adjusts the meal time if it changes.
  • The school nurse enters the amount of insulin, at the time it is injected
  • If extra food is eaten, like a slice of cake for someone’s birthday or food from a cooking class, Jade’s wizard tell how much insulin to give
  • Everyone from teachers to coaches to carers and even parents at work or home, can see what is happening.
  • At the start of the year, Jade is a very helpful tool to help new teachers understand diabetes.

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