CGM offers more benefits than burdens for parents of children with type 1 diabetes
Parents of children with type 1 diabetes who initiated continuous glucose monitoring during the first month after diagnosis described CGM as beneficial and said they would continue to use it, according to study data.
“We saw a very clear consensus among parents that early initiation of CGM after their child’s diabetes diagnosis was well accepted,” Molly L. Tanenbaum, PhD, an instructor in the department of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, told Healio. “Many parents shared that the felt CGM was an essential part of their child’s diabetes care that they would not want to give up.”
The researchers collected qualitative data as part of a larger study in which families received a Dexcom G6 CGM within 30 days of a child’s type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Participants in the larger study whose children had a minimum diabetes duration of 6 months were invited to attend focus groups and interviews held over Zoom between February and May 2020. The focus groups and interviews examined parents’ experiences with CGM initiation, perceived benefits and burdens of CGM use, and their intentions to continue using CGM in the future. The findings were published in Diabetic Medicine.
There were 16 parents included in the study (mean age of parent, 44.13 years; 75% women). The mean age of the participants’ children was 12.38 years, and the mean diabetes duration was 10.35 months.
Parents said they appreciated starting CGM within the first month of their child’s diabetes diagnosis, although there were different opinions as to how soon CGM should be initiated. Most parents said it was important to be comfortable using finger sticks to check blood glucose before starting CGM.
Most participants said CGM had multiple benefits, including decreased stress, the ability to use and access data, fewer finger sticks for their child and better sleep for parents. Some of the burdens parents reported with CGM use included issues with accuracy, bleeding with CGM insertion and other technical issues. Some parents said they experienced a high level of stress and worry when data were unavailable. However, most parents said the benefits they gained from CGM outweighed the hassles.
All parents in the study cohort said they would continue to use CGM going forward, and several stated they could not believe anyone could manage type 1 diabetes without a device. The only potential barriers reported by parents were concerns about whether CGM costs would be covered if their insurance plan changed.
Researchers said the findings show how early initiation of CGM in children with type 1 diabetes could have several benefits and should be explored by providers with the remote delivery of diabetes care likely to grow in the future.
“If providers have previously been hesitant about adding in a device during the new onset period because of thinking it could be overwhelming while families are in the middle of an already steep learning curve, our findings showed us that parents actually really appreciated having early access to this technology,” Tanenbaum said. “They viewed it as a very beneficial component of learning to manage type 1 diabetes early on for a variety of reasons, and it also allowed parents to have a bit more peace of mind — especially during nighttime. The clinical team was also monitoring the CGM data remotely and providing feedback in between clinic visits, so parents appreciated that CGM enabled increased touchpoints and guidance between visits.”
Tanenbaum said future research should be directed toward addressing disparities with CGM access and use.
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Molly L. Tanenbaum, PhD, can be reached at email@example.com.