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Hutt Hospital’s Diabetes Service Supporting Children And Their Families

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Ellen, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

    Oct 22, 2005

    Supporting Children And Their Families

    IN an innovative move not seen anywhere else in the country, Hutt Hospital’s Diabetes Service has appointed a Family Therapist to its Paediatric Diabetes Service to work with children with diabetes and their families. Previously a Family Therapist with Hutt Hospital’s Mental Health Services Diana Linforth-Howden took up the role in November and helps families work through the issues that can arise from a diabetes diagnosis. “There are many issues that can impact on a family when a child has been diagnosed with diabetes,” Mrs Linforth-Howden said. “No matter how the family functions, that diagnosis – as well as the management of the diabetes – can prove an enormous stressor,” she said. Mrs Linforth-Howden says a diagnosis can cause parents to feel grief and anger, as well as the inevitable fear of the outcome for their children. “It can impact on anything that is going on in the family – any issue that is current in a family can be aggravated by the diagnosis,” she said. “And parents often end up blaming themselves for their child having diabetes.” The need to provide this additional level of support to families was identified by the Hutt Valley District Health Board’s funding and planning department – leading to the creation of the new Family Therapist role. Diabetes is one of the fastest-growing epidemics in the country – Hutt Valley DHB conducted a review of diabetes services in the valley in 2004 the role was one of a number of initiatives that emerged from that review. The need to provide psychological and social support for children with Type One diabetes and their families was also identified in a consultation exercise undertaken with providers and consumers of services and the wider community. “Credit also goes to Hutt Valley DHB, which also recognised that need and supports it,” Mrs Linforth-Howden said. At present, Mrs Linforth-Howden currently helps and supports 45 children and their families. “I’ve always been passionate about supporting children and families, and I was attracted to this role because it was something new and innovative that I could help create,” she said. “While it’s been a challenge – I’ve had to learn some of the medical side of it – it is hugely rewarding. The team here is wonderfully supportive in helping families with little ones who are going to have to manage this condition for the rest of their lives.”

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