Joint-effort helps young diabetics better manage condition

Joint-effort helps young diabetics better manage condition

SINGAPORE - Doctors from the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and KK Women's and Children Hospital (KKH) have introduced a scheme to help young diabetics better manage their condition as they reach adulthood.

The Diabetes Transition Programme, a joint effort between the two hospitals, teaches children with diabetes from the ages of 12 to 13 various essential information for their condition, such as how to take care of themselves and what foods to eat.

Accompanied by their parents, the children also receive psychological support, the Straits Times reported.

The programme evolves with the children as they get older, adding in issues such as sexual health and body image, and how they can be handled in the context of a diabetic lifestyle.

When the children reach adulthood, they are accessed as to their suitability for a transfer into an adult programme.

If they are deemed suitable, a personalised transition plan is prepared and the children are referred to the Diabetes Joint Clinic at KKH. There, a paediatric team introduces the patient to the SGH team that will be monitoring his or her health through adulthood.

The consultations for the adult programme is held at SGH's Young Adults with Diabetes Clinic.

This programme was set up to ensure a smooth transition in care for a diabetic from childhood through adult years.

Child diabetics usually have Type 1 diabetes, which means the body produces little or no insulin. They require at least three insulin injections a day.

If a diabetic does not take proper doses of insulin a day, it can result in serious health issues such as retinopathy, which is damage to the retina of the eye. When this happens, the patient faces the risk of going blind.

Thirty-five patients have been transferred to SGH under this programme so far, with a new batch of 115 patients beginning their transition process.