Involving young people in the decision to introduce continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices could improve their diabetes management on a long-term basis, researchers say.

A study, carried out by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), has discovered that teenagers and children who are not consulted about using CGM technology are less likely to continue using them.

PhD psychologist, Victoria A. Miller, PhD, from the Craig-Dalsimer Division of Adolescent Medicine at CHOP, said: “To maximise the clinical benefits of CGM, our results suggest that providers should involve youth in the decision-making process from the beginning, eliciting their opinions, concerns, and questions about the device and providing information about the device directly to them.

Parents also have a role to play, and providers can encourage parents to engage their children in conversations about the decision to start CGM without dominating the discussion, which may increase the likelihood that they are in agreement about waiting or proceeding.”

The use of CGM can be hugely beneficial to people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes as the device tracks glucose levels throughout the day. When levels go too high or too low, the user is alerted and can then take the relevant action. Long-term use of the technology is recommended to reap greater health rewards from the device which is why the research team wanted to look at the best way to achieve results.

The trial involved 108 parents and their children. The researchers found that the children who were more involved in the decision about CGM use and took part in discussions about the technology were more likely to stick with it more regularly up to 12 weeks after starting.

Of the children whose parents took charge in the CGM decision making process were less likely to have continued using the device at the two-month follow-up.

 Ms Miller added: “Additional research is needed to develop strategies that enhance children’s involvement in the decision about CGM, prevent declines in CGM use over time, and maximise the clinical benefits that can be obtained by appropriate use of CGM and other emerging technologies for diabetes management.

“Such research should also target more diverse samples to examine the extent to which sociodemographic factors, such as race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, impact CGM uptake and use.”

 The study findings have been published in the Diabetes Care journal.

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