Nurses in each and every school are a relic of a bygone age. But digital tools may be the new ticket for your family to manage type 1 diabetes at school.
With apps, hand held alarms and texting, middle and high schoolers can manage their diabetes digitally. A bonus for parents: This means you can meet them where they are — on their phones.
A Secret Code
Messages from my type 1 daughter ring in on my iPhone throughout the day, sometimes requiring further interpretation by text (or phone).
"150 30 carbs 1.5"
"80 straight arrow 15 carbs going to PE"
"K love u"
It's a blur of numbers, a diabetes morse code of sorts. A secret language shared by understanding ears at diabetes camp or other families in the same boat.
Tools to Help
With no school nurse, the stand ins are generally your "Trained Diabetes Personnel (TDPs)." TDPs are on high alert and may have basic CPR and first aid training. But while they often do an excellent job helping to manage type 1 diabetes at school, they certainly aren't healthcare professionals, and these educators-come-diabetes-experts have day jobs as secretaries, teachers, and principals. I've found technology can help.
BlueLoop by MyCareConnect offers an easy app to connect your child's diabetes health at school to those you want "in the loop:" mom/dad, teacher, nurse, etc. The app helps minimize diabetes disruptions at school.
And these check-ins might help improve disease management. According to Medill Reports, a text messaging program at the University of Chicago finds "participants described the text messaging program as a friend, sponsor, or social group…or a coach…if you have somebody saying, ‘Well did you do this today?’”
There are of course limitations and pitfalls with digital management even with a mature child; be sure to meet with your healthcare provider prior to implementing any changes in your management regimen.