Research shows that COVID-19 infections are generally less severe in children than adults. But for children with diabetes, an infection can make blood glucose difficult to manage. More importantly, access to care may be delayed due to the disruption of health care systems.
To help families affected by childhood diabetes navigate these challenges during the pandemic, McMaster University, McMaster Children’s Hospital and the Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation have launched a new website: COVID-19 and Childhood Diabetes. It’s an initiative Global Health Student Maya Kshatriya has been involved in since April, as project lead.
“At the start of the pandemic, youth and families attending the Diabetes Program at McMaster Children’s Hospital expressed concerns regarding the impact of the COVID-19 virus on children with diabetes. The navigation of reliable and timely information was a prevailing challenge for many. I’m proud to have had a hand in this project because it provides families with much-needed information on COVID-19 and childhood diabetes during this time,” explains Kshatriya.
Under the supervision of Dr. M. Constantine Samaan, a pediatric endocrinologist at McMaster Children’s Hospital, the team was composed of child life specialists, dieticians, nurses, medical students, graduate students and undergraduate students at McMaster University who worked on reviewing and compiling the latest, and most relevant information for families. The website notes that to avoid diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), families should follow appropriate precautions and guidelines on home-based care. This information, and more, is displayed across multiple pages detailing sick day management, preventing the spread, FAQs, mental wellbeing, parent resources and COVID-19 related activities to keep children engaged at home.
And it’s been a success to date. Since its launch in April 2020, the website has been accessed by users in more than 50 countries and the team has received positive feedback from the global and local community, including from the Diabetes Program at the McMaster Children’s Hospital. The International Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) has included the website as a recommended resource to their members.
Kshatriya recently presented the website as a poster at the Children’s Healthcare Canada 2020 Conference.
“Since the launch of the website in April, our team is continuously working to adapt to the rapidly changing information and evolving needs of families affected by pediatric diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she says.
Access the website at www.covid19childhooddiabetes.com
Watch a video about the video from Hamilton Health Sciences, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2leVdZOJedw
Follow the website on Twitter: @COVIDChildDiab