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Program Aims to Improve Quality of Life for Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Madison, Wisconsin - A simple 10-minute survey developed at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) could improve the quality of life and blood sugar control for children with Type 1 diabetes.

Elizabeth CoxElizabeth Cox

Preliminary testing showed the program was responsible for a significant drop in average blood sugar levels.

The 10-minute survey called Problem Recognition in Illness Self-Management (PRISM) was developed by Dr. Elizabeth Cox, associate professor of pediatrics, to tailor resources to individual family needs and helping them improve management of Type 1 diabetes.

“Quality of life is a big issue for families with children who have Type 1 diabetes,” said Cox. “Parents say it’s difficult to find child care. They miss work and social events because managing diabetes can be a minute-to-minute process.”

Cox and her team of researchers did preliminary testing of PRISM with 65 families. Half the families received the interventional survey and the other half continued the traditional clinic visits for diabetes management. Based on their needs as identified by the PRISM survey, the families were placed in one of three groups: family teamwork, development of new knowledge and skills, or motivation to manage diabetes better.

"If PRISM improves blood sugar or quality of life in the larger clinical trial, the tool could be incorporated into the care of all children with diabetes."

 

- Elizabeth Cox

The families attended 75-minute group sessions each quarter for one year. Cox said children whose families underwent the survey process saw impressive changes in their children’s’ blood sugar control.

“The average blood sugar of the children whose family participated in PRISM dropped 0.8 percent,” said Cox. “That’s a significant improvement in blood sugar levels.”

Cox will present the findings and discuss plans for a larger clinical trial with 300 children with Type 1 diabetes at the regional meeting of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). This larger trial is unique in its involvement of stakeholders including families of children with diabetes in each step of the research process.

“If PRISM improves blood sugar or quality of life in the larger clinical trial, the tool could be incorporated into the care of all children with diabetes.”

The grant for the project was awarded by PCORI. 

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

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