A Peer Support Program for Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes
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Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) is a chronic condition impacting young children and subsequently follows them throughout life. The disease causes the body to lose the ability to produce insulin resulting in elevated blood sugar levels causing a cascade of detrimental complications. As children navigate through the different phases of life, especially during adolescence, the challenges of self-management of this disease can become difficult. In research, peer support programs have shown to be an effective method to approaching this challenge. This quality improvement project focused on the T1D adolescent population and created, implemented, and evaluated a peer support program, called Empower1 in the local community. Through collaboration with key stakeholders, and implementing this program for type 1 diabetic adolescents, positive social support, and disease education was promoted, based on the goal of improving health related quality of life, and theoretically leading to improved disease management. If overall improved glycemic control can be achieved, lifelong complications can be prevented. Data were collected, using the PedsQL Diabetes model 3.2 questionnaire, before and after attending the program to evaluate the participants’ perceived health related quality of life and compared the two looking for patterns or changes. An increase in mean scores were demonstrated in 3 of the 5 categories, but none were statistically significant. Overall this program aimed to provide a way of building supportive relationships and friendships, along with providing diabetes education and encouragement for T1D adolescents, aiming to increase their health related quality of life.
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