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Diabetes in Children: Care Plan for School or Daycare

Overview

Some students can manage their diabetes on their own, but many will need help. A child's parents or guardians are responsible for making sure that school staff is willing and able to help the child with his or her diabetes care.

A diabetes care plan includes information that the school staff needs to know to make sure your child is safe. Your province may have a care plan template that you can use. If not, you can find one at www.diabetesatschool.ca/tools/individual-care-plan.

Check with your school or province about which of these tasks require signed consent, a mutual agreement, or training provided by you.

You must give the staff everything they need to care for your child, including supplies to do a blood sugar test, insulin, syringes or pens, glucagon (if it's in the care plan), and supplies for testing for ketones. And you need to teach the staff how to use these items. Remind the staff that your child needs access to the supplies at all times, even on a field trip. Now and then, check the expiration dates of supplies your child has at school.

Be specific about which tasks your child can do on their own and which ones an adult must do. Here are some examples of information to include in your child's care plan:

  • Insulin, if needed. Include information on how to give insulin to your child, how much to give, and how to store it. Your child may get it as a shot, use an insulin pen, or have an insulin pump.
  • Other medicine. If your child takes other medicine for diabetes, include instructions on how and when to give the medicine, how much to give, and how to store it.
  • Meals and snacks.
    • Provide school staff with snacks for your child as needed.
    • Make sure your child's teacher and the school staff know your child has permission to eat a snack anytime he or she needs it.
    • Make a list of foods your child can eat, how much, and when. Also list foods your child can have for special occasions, such as a class party or a field trip. Include information about insulin, if needed, for special-occasion foods.
  • Blood sugar testing. Work with school staff to create a testing schedule. For example, your child may need his or her blood sugar tested before lunch and when he or she has symptoms of low blood sugar.
  • Symptoms of low blood sugar. Describe your child's symptoms and how to treat them.
  • Symptoms of high blood sugar. Describe your child's symptoms and how to treat them.
  • Testing ketones. Specify when and how to test your child for ketones and what to do if ketones are present.
  • Physical activity and sports. Include information about when your child's blood sugar should be checked before activity and the desired target range. Specify how many glucose tablets or how much quick-sugar food to have on hand for your child.
  • Who to call. Include contact information for parent(s) or guardians(s), other caregivers, and your child's doctor.
  • When to call 911. In case of a severe low (very low) blood sugar, call 911 right away. Do not leave the child alone. A severe low blood sugar is when a child:
    • Can’t treat low blood sugar by themselves.
    • Isn’t responding or has passed out (is unconscious).
    • Is having a seizure.
    • Is not cooperating, so that you can’t give them a quick-sugar food.
  • If it’s part of the child’s care plan, you can give them glucagon while 911 and the parent(s) or guardian(s) are being contacted.

The care plan should state that your child is allowed to:

  • Use the washroom, eat, and drink when needed.
  • Have a private place to take care of diabetes needs.
  • Call a parent, guardian, or caregiver whenever he or she asks.
  • Miss school for medical appointments.

Include the best way to communicate with you about your child's health. Daily phone calls, emails, or a journal entries can be used to track how things are going at school.

Credits

Adaptation Date: 3/3/2022

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.