If your grandchild has diabetes, you have an important job. Only mom and dad play a more significant emotional role than grandparents in many childrens’ lives.
Recently, Rosanne LeComte-Holtzman, RN, of the Winthrop University Hospital/Diabetes Education Center in Mineola, N.Y., led an education program for grandparents of insulin-dependent children under age six. Grandparents were given the chance to develop peer support while learning about how to monitor blood glucose, inject insulin, and manage nutritional needs. They also learned about hypoglycemia, glucagon, hyperglycemia, and ketones.
Interestingly, 67% of the participants were maternal grandparents, and 25% had received their previous diabetes education from their daughters. None of the grandparents had done any overnight babysitting of their diabetic grandchildren, though 50% had provided daytime care. In the three-month follow-up, researchers learned that none of the participants had “graduated” to nighttime babysitting. Reasons for this included geographic distance and parental fear of allowing others to care for their diabetic children overnight.
However, most of the participants enjoyed the learning experience and felt empowered by their new knowledge. They “expressed comfort in assuming care of their grandchild in an emergency and benefited from peer support with other grandparents.”
This information was presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting and Educational Program of the AADE in Boston, August 1995.