Diabetes type 1

Children, transition and young adult clinics

Young people talked to us about diabetic clinics and what it was they valued about their treatment. Their experiences of diabetic clinics varied because some had attended children's clinics and others had more experience of clinics for young adults. Clinics can also vary from place to place and do not necessarily all offer the same range of expertise and services. Most young people said that they highly rated clinics that helped them keep 'good control' of their diabetes and which have friendly, approachable and skilled staff. 

Feelings about healthcare staff
Overall most young people said it was important that health professionals in the clinic get to know them as people. They appreciated doctors and nurses who remembered them from previous visits and who talked to them about their lives and not just their diabetes. Some said that they enjoyed being on friendly terms with staff in the clinics and that it helped them feel confident if the relationship was more than medical. Several said that they knew medical staff had to point out their problems but they also wanted them to be positive about what could be done to help.

When young people felt dissatisfied with a clinic, it was often because they had been through a bad experience with a particular member of staff who came across as bossy, critical or patronising. Many young people said they didn't like being told off for not doing enough blood glucose tests and for forgetting to record their test results. Several young people wondered if medical staff should have encouraged them to do more for themselves.

Feelings about how clinics are run
Many young people talked about how their diabetes seemed harder to control when they became teenagers and for some having good access to a range of health professional including dieticians and psychologists was important. (See also 'What happens at the diabetes clinic' and 'What makes a good consultation with the care team?'.)

Young people said that ideally medical staff should understand what it felt like to be a teenager and how this affected how they felt about having diabetes. Some people were on a treatment regime where they had to wait for staff to change things for them, and they felt that staff should check-up on them afterwards and see how they were coping. Many said they wanted to be able to contact someone from the clinic after hours and appreciated nurses who responded to emails and text messages. 

Children's clinics
Many young people who were attending children's clinics said they were happy with their care. They liked the informality and friendliness of the staff, and didn't want members of their diabetes team to change. Several young people said they didn't feel ready to leave the children's clinic. 

Moving from the children's to the young adults' clinic
Young people said that the main difference they noticed when they moved from the children's to the young adults' clinic was how doctors and nurses made more of talking directly to them rather than to their parents. The transition from one to the other meant taking more responsibility for their own care at a pace that suited them which was much appreciated by many young people. 

Many young people said that they valued making decisions about their own treatment in the young adult clinics because they wanted to have more responsibility and control of their diabetes. For some young people, the transition to a new clinic was not easy and they took time to adjust and develop a good relationship with medical staff.

Getting treatment from the GP
One young man said he had not attended a clinic for three years and that he gets his insulin and everything else he needs from his GP because it suits him better. He used to go to a hospital nearby but after it closed he was transferred to another hospital far from his home.

Last reviewed November 2014.

Last updated November 2014.

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