Assessment of Knowledge of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Among Public Health Care Specialists Working at Schools and Analysis of Activities Directed at Providing Assistance to Children With Diabetes Mellitus in Lithuania
Schoolchildren diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus sometimes have no possibility to eat and get an insulin injection on time while being at school, some of them may fear bullying and do not wish to be distinguished from others, and others are afraid to admit they have the disease. Surveys indicate that in case of hypoglycemia, schoolchildren would expect getting help from a public health care specialist working at school. This study aimed to examine the knowledge of diabetes mellitus among public health care specialists working in educational institutions and their activities directed at providing assistance to children with diabetes. MATERIAL AND METHODS. Respondents of the anonymous survey included 104 public health care specialists working at schools in different cities of Lithuania. RESULTS. Among the 104 surveyed, 18.3% of the public health care specialists working at schools had insufficient knowledge of diabetes self-management, 36.6% lacked knowledge about diet for people with diabetes mellitus, and 51.9% lacked adequate knowledge of acute and late-stage complications of diabetes mellitus. As much as 76% of the respondents were interested in well-being of children with diabetes mellitus at school, while 24% were never interested. Only 31.7% of the respondents informed all teachers at school about a schoolchild with diabetes mellitus, 61.5% informed only one teacher, and 20.2% reported they did not provide such information to teachers. When requested to identify problems, 26.9% of the respondents mentioned the lack of knowledge on diabetes mellitus, and 32.7% pointed out the lack of supplies necessary for assistance in case of hypoglycemia. Insufficient workload at school was seen as a problem by 17.3% of the respondents, while 37.5% of the public health care specialists indicated the lack of methodological recommendations. CONCLUSIONS. Most public health care specialists working at schools lack adequate knowledge of acute and late-stage complications of diabetes mellitus and insulin therapy. Public health care specialists provide emergency assistance in case of hypoglycemia, are interested in well-being of children with diabetes mellitus, and provide information for the school community. The most frequent problems encountered by public health care specialists include insufficient supplies necessary to test the blood glucose level and provide first aid as well as the lack of uniform methodological recommendations on how to behave in cases when school is attended by a schoolchild with diabetes mellitus.
Correspondence to V. Bulikaitė Department of Nursing and Care, Medical Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Eivenių 2, 50161 Kaunas, Lithuania. email@example.com