Insulin pump use in children with type 1 diabetes: an exploration of families' experiences
Allan, Lesley Anne
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Introduction: The management of type 1 diabetes through the use of Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion (CSII); also known as insulin pump therapy, has become an increasingly popular option for children and adolescents. A systematic review of studies that measured Quality of Life (QoL) in children associated with CSII was conducted. Eighteen studies were reviewed, and the results showed insufficient evidence to conclude that CSII improves QoL in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. The current study aimed to address the gap in the literature by exploring children and parents’ perspectives on the use of CSII for managing diabetes. Method: Data were gathered from five children aged 8 – 14 years (and five parents), using one to one semi-structured interviews. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Results: Five super-ordinate themes were identified for parents: ‘Parenting a Child with Diabetes’; ‘Worth the Hard Work’; ‘Strive for Normality’; The Pump as an Enabler’; and ‘An eye on the Future’. Three Super-ordinate themes were identified for children ‘Feeling Different’; Grappling for Control’; and ‘Better…’ which were associated with a central theme of ‘Developing a Relationship with the Pump’. Children’s data is presented separately within a journal article format. Discussion: Findings suggest that parents value the insulin pump, despite acknowledging the challenges, particularly the hard work required to manage it. Children seemed to have an ambivalent but developing relationship with the insulin pump. They experience a number of benefits and drawbacks associated with the use of CSII and it seems to affect their identity and their locus of control. Conclusion: This research provides a greater insight into the lived experience of CSII for children and their parents. The benefits of CSII seemed to outweigh the challenges involved particularly for parents; and children seemed to be developing a relationship with the pump within the realms of their relationship with diabetes.