Challenges facing parents of diabetic children.
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The study aimed to explore, describe and interpret the challenges of the parents who care for diabetic children. The study aimed to attempt to highlight relevant issues that may assist the diabetic team in developing guidelines in managing diabetic children. The data were collected by engaging in face to face in depth interviews with parents of diabetic children who attended the outpatient clinic at a hospital in Durban. The interviews were guided by an interview guide, which allowed the researcher to cover all relevant areas of interest in a logical and uniformed way. The sample consisted of 16 participants, which was racially mixed. The findings of the study revealed that parents who have diabetic children experience many challenges while some are able to incorporate it into their daily lives others continue to experience problems despite the team involvement and education. Diabetes is a life long disease that requires continued management which includes ongoing education, family support, finances and support from the diabetes team. The study also revealed that caring for a diabetic child is expensive and many families struggle to meet their dietary needs due to financial constraints. The finding further revealed that diabetic children are often affected by the diagnosis and many withdraw from family, friends and social activities. Healthy siblings sometimes do not understand the child’s diabetes. In some instances, the parents’ relationships are affected as couples do not have couple time and the family’s lives are altered and most schools have minimal knowledge of diabetes. Based on these findings, recommendations regarding the required information and assistance to be given to the diabetic patients and family members were formulated. Schools have a role to play and the larger communities require diabetes awareness.