Diabetic children in danger due to fear of needles

Fri, 24 Dec 2010
A new study has revealed that a fear of needles can be a barrier to properly taking insulin among diabetic children that have been newly diagnosed, and that this was causing a problem for diabetes control.

The research, by clinical nurse specialists, scientists and social workers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, showed that more than 13 per cent of children with type 1 diabetes that had recently been diagnosed with the disease, had problems with the needles used to inject insulin to treat their condition.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, surveyed 46 children and mothers for how they reacted to insulin injections and finger prick tests, with the results being analysed for associations with age and hemoglobin A1c as a marker of diabetes control. It was concluded that it should be responsibility of the parents of the children with diabetes to learn how to deal with the anxiety over needles shown by their children.

The findings of the research indicated that children's fear, distress and pain involving needles made it much more difficult for parents to administer insulin and finger prick blood glucose tests. It was recommended that nurses should integrate assessment and intervention for needle anxiety in children and parents when diabetes is first diagnoses, using either informal interview or a formal survey.

There was also high fear and distress of needles shown among mothers, as well as greater distress linked to the poor cooperation of children in needle use.
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