According to a global survey studying children with diabetes, current healthcare systems are failing to give adequate social and psychological support to young people with diabetes. This lack of support often leads to poor control of their disease, resulting in long-term health complications.
The final results of the DAWN (Diabetes, Attitudes, Wishes, and Needs) Youth survey were recently released at the 4th International DAWN Summit in Budapest, Hungary.
The survey studied young people with diabetes, parents or caregivers of at least one child with diabetes, and pediatric healthcare professionals. More than 6,700 respondents participated from eight countries: Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, and the USA.
More than 200 children a day worldwide develop diabetes. The disease poses a severe burden for these children and their families because it affects them physically, mentally, and socially. “In order to improve health outcomes, a transformation is required in the understanding and perceptions of the psychosocial issues faced by all people with diabetes,” says Professor Martin Silink, IDF president.
The DAWN Youth survey revealed four key areas for urgent action:
- Improve support for children with diabetes in schools
Nine out of 10 children with diabetes lack support at school.
- Promote age-appropriate education and psychosocial support
Only two out of 10 healthcare professionals routinely evaluate the psychosocial needs of the young people with diabetes and their families in their care.
- Enhance parents and family-centered care and support
Four out of 10 parents and caregivers regularly felt overwhelmed by their child’s diabetes.
- Facilitate peer support and networking through group activities and socializing with other young people with diabetes
Young people with diabetes, as well as their parents and caregivers, considered it important to talk to other young people with diabetes.
“An important goal of the DAWN Youth program has been to better understand the needs of children with diabetes and their families…” says Lise Kingo, executive vice president and chief of staff at Novo Nordisk.
Novo Nordisk is partnering with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) to support the implementation of the survey findings. They are striving to create concrete national actions through national DAWN Youth boards, involving the different key stakeholders in each country to improve psychosocial support for people with diabetes through concerted advocacy, better practice sharing, and initiatives.
For more information and background about the DAWN Youth initiative please visit dawnyouth.com.