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Need help from parents!

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Cardonea1, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. Cardonea1

    Cardonea1 New Member

    Jan 24, 2014
    Hello all,

    First, I would like to pay my respects to the parents who are caring for children with diabetes. It must be very frightening and stressful, and it takes a special person to be able to do so.

    I am hoping to find any interested parents that would be willing to give me feedback. Let me give you some history. I am a product design student and I have decided on a thesis project, of redesigning a blood glucose monitor for children. Testing blood sugar for a child is a scary and painful process, and I am aiming to redesign the experience for kids, and make a product that could take that experience, and change the feelings that kids associate it with.

    Right now, I am in the research phase and I am trying to gather as much information as possible, and I thought, there's no better person to ask then the ones who experience it everyday. I am hoping that some of you will be willing to share your experiences with me, and possibly stay in contact or be available to see my design through conception to completion, while giving me helpful feedback that will shape my design.

    I have thought of a few concepts, but truly need more information, as I am not a parent caring for a child with diabetes and cannot answer for them. What I am trying to understand now, is what makes the experience of using a blood glucose meter scary and I please t for children? Is it the sight of blood? Or the pain? Or just the association, where the child sees the blood glucose tester, and associates it with a painful experience and shies away from it?

    As a parent, what would make that easier for you? Are there certain things that you wish were implemented in a blood glucose tester? Have you ever had those moments where something isn't working properly and you think to yourself, "I wish this was more like _____." Or "it would be so much easier if I just had _____."

    As you can see, I have a lot of questions, and am looking to obtain knowledge not only about blood glucose testers but the experiences and feelings that surround them. I would be extremely grateful for your feedback, and I welcome private messages, and if anyone has questions or comments I'd be glad to inform you all on the progress of my project. I really hope to hear back from some of you and am looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you so much for your time.
  2. Jeff

    Jeff Founder, CWD

    Jun 1, 1995
    I confirmed with the student's thesis advisor that this is for a university project. Please assist if you have time.
  3. Kaylee's Mom

    Kaylee's Mom Approved members

    Dec 4, 2007
    Hi .. I just read your request .. my daughter is 9 years old now and was diagnosed at age 3. She has always been so good about testing .. shots etc. that she actually makes this disease easier for us to deal with. I think if I could have one thing in a meter .. maybe something fun besides plain black .. and a light. Pretty simple. Not all have a light. Maybe it could be synced with multiple pumps? Maybe it could be infrared instead of pricking your finger. Any questions just ask .. we are pretty open. Good luck on your project!!

  4. Beach bum

    Beach bum Approved members

    Nov 17, 2005
    I too would like to see a lancing device with a light on it so you can see where you are aiming in the middle of the night and in dark places. LOL, I actually have a pair of glasses that have lights integrated into them for this exact reason. I'd like to see a square case for strips, the round one is just too bulky. I'd like to see thinner meters. Yes, they have narrow ones such as the OneTouch mini, but I'd like flatter. I'm also still looking for the elusive perfect carrying case. One that has things placed logically and easy to get to, not too bulky.
  5. eloquine

    eloquine Approved members

    Nov 6, 2013
    Light light light !
    Also, something so trivial, but an option to never shut off while doing a BG reading. How many times have I struggled with my little one because he was in the middle of something and didn't want to be interrupted. We finally are able to get some blood and apply it to the strip, to realize too late that the machine turned off automatically !!! ARGH, especially super annoying in the middle of the night when he is asleep and it is so hard to get a drop of blood out of his finger...
    Those two features would be nice.
  6. ksartain

    ksartain Approved members

    Dec 21, 2012
    I like the light idea. Something that would have helped for my child is to make skins for the meters so they're more kid-friendly-looking. Something in camo, pink, green, princess, R2D2, anything that gives it some personality.

    Chris didn't have any issue with checking his sugar. By the 2nd day we were in the hospital, he was checking it himself. He was 6 when he was diagnosed. Maybe some heavy duty finger cream that will soften his finger pads could be included with each meter.
  7. glko

    glko Approved members

    Aug 12, 2010
    Thanks for making this a priority for your research, the more designers who are working towards improving the lives of people with diabetes the better!
    Just to clarify, in our experience with my son dxd 5 months ago he is not afraid of testing nor is it a scary experience at all. Maybe for the first 3-4 tests it was but after testing 6 or more times per day kids get used to it pretty fast. Likewise I haven't heard from other parents that the actual meter or testing process frightens their child. Yes, he does complain of sore fingers (so non-invasive BG testing would be a big wish!) but he tests for the most part without complaint.
    Other wishes:
    * Less stuff to carry associated with testing - meter, strips, lancing device, etc.
    * Smaller meter and all should have backlight for dark places - even though the meters are getting smaller the cases are still big, the case design hasn't really changed in the 20 years I have known my husband who has type 1
    * Different colors or skins (as mentioned above) to make it not look so "medical"
    * Always faster!
  8. mamattorney

    mamattorney Approved members

    Apr 9, 2013
    My wish list might not mesh completely with your goal of "less scary and less painful". My child's a little older and she got over the scariness really fast. If I were to redesign a glucose meter I would aim for "less painful and less noticeable". First would be the lancing devices - when she tests in school, if it's a quiet moment - she tells me heads turn when the lancing device makes that tell-tale "snap!" Silent lancing (so something other than a spring loaded system, I guess) would make my daughter very happy! That may make it less scary for little ones, too I suppose.

    I think she would also appreciate an all in one device - a meter that also lances, somehow? It would be less to carry, less to lose. A way to pre-load a days worth of strips into the meter so she doesn't have to carry the canister with her and potentially contaminate the strips if she's out and about and can't rinse her fingers before testing, too?

    I also agree that any accessories to personalize the meter (skins, decals, etc) are always welcomed.
  9. Wren

    Wren Approved members

    Apr 24, 2013
    Same here. My DD was dx'd at 9. Scariness and painfulness isn't an issue. But less noticeable, less stuff to carry, and more personalizable would help.

    For us, the DexCom G4 has greatly reduced the amount of blood testing, and I'm looking forward to the day kids don't have to test blood at all.
  10. Lakeman

    Lakeman Approved members

    Nov 10, 2010
    Lots of good ideas up there! I agree that a light would be highly useful whether on the lancer or on the meter. I know my 8 year old daughter loves the idea of skins on anything, and likes things that look like iphones. Though in all honesty I think the rounded shape of my One touch would be easier to use than the square shape of an iphone. Yes at three in the morning when you have just woken up to go test and might be groggy the fumbling with different shapes could be important. On the other hand the Dexcom receiver has changed from rounded to square and the square fits in ones pocket so much better (so Ive been told).

    Some meters have strips that take the drop from the end and some from the side. I dont know which I prefer as I have hardly used the side loading strips but I do know that in the beginning the end loading strips seemed really awkward. Someone said that the strip vials should be square. Great idea because right now I cannot even get my fingers in to get the strips out. A flatter square vial would be much better. Right now the inside of the case is jammed with stuff and if everything were flatter that would be better.

    I'll go talk to my daughter now:

    My daughter added that maybe they could talk instead of beeping? Or maybe glow? (though ours already has a backlight). I think she means it should glow even more so it would be a light source. She does not care that the meter is black but does like the idea of skins. She wants the case to be redesigned - maybe with sparkles, or an animal on it.

    The meter was never scary but the lancer was until she got used to it.
  11. MomofSweetOne

    MomofSweetOne Approved members

    Aug 28, 2011
    The big wish for this house is uniform accuracy - and INCREASED accuracy. We had skins with our old meter, decent accuracy. Then we were forced by insurance to switch to a different meter. It has a light, is thin, (no skins though), but its accuracy is driving us crazy even though it supposedly meets the FDA criteria. From the same blood drop, we've seen a 56 and a 100. The difference in those numbers...one is a panicked, feed-the-kid fast and a "That's great!" With the 100, we would dose food for a snack, complicating a low even further if she were really at 56. Fortunately, my kid feels her lows and knew to retest for a more accurate (ha!) number. But every time she does that, it eats up another test strip, the amount of which are rationed by our prescription. They're expensive.

    So...my wish....an extremely accurate meter with inexpensive strips that can be afforded by many more people around the world.
  12. TheFormerLantusFiend

    TheFormerLantusFiend Approved members

    Sep 10, 2006
    I do not check bg on any young children but I think it would be really nice if there was a feature where you decide how long it takes before it shuts off. I don't think NEVER because I can really easily imagine the battery running down that way but maybe 5 minutes? Instead of the 1 or 2 minutes the meters actually give you. Or letting us decide 'cause I guess maybe you don't care if the batteries burn out as long as you never have the experience of applying blood to a strip and then IT TURNS OUT IT TURNED OFF! ARGH!
  13. Lee

    Lee Approved members

    Oct 5, 2006
    I lke all of the ideas listed so far. I wonder if a smaller device/lancet device that incorporates the same method as Buzzy would work?
  14. Snowflake

    Snowflake Approved members

    Dec 1, 2013
    I agree with much of what has been said. I can provide a little more perspective about the toddler experience. My DD was 2 when diagnosed; in a few days she will be four. Everything about T1 was intensely traumatic for her for the first 6 weeks or so post-diagnosis. She still has periodic moments of intense trauma, including Dexcom insertions and the occasional injection that we have to resort to when an Omnipod pod fails.

    As to your first question about whether/why testing is scary: When we were hospitalized post-diagnosis, my DD freaked out about every bg check (and every shot). The only nurse who was able to calm her down had a crazy spinning light pen that she used to distract my daughter. So some element of distraction might be useful for little kids in early days post-diagnosis -- perhaps as an external attachment to bg meters for hospital personnel? Now, with 10 bg checks per day, bg checks have become far more routine.

    You also asked about whether T1 kids complain about pain around finger pokes. After a long period of what I thought was her comfort with our lancing device (Accuchex Multiclix), my DD out of nowhere has started occasionally complaining that her pokes hurt. So we're going to test drive some alternative brands of lancers. As a parent, I occasionally give myself pokes just to remember what she experiences several times a day; so as part of your research, you might consider trying a few of the leading lancers on your fingers.

    Thanks for your interest in this topic!!!
  15. Kaylee's Mom

    Kaylee's Mom Approved members

    Dec 4, 2007
    Another thing for me would be affordable .. and accurate strips. Not everyone has insurance ....
  16. 4MyBoys

    4MyBoys Approved members

    Feb 23, 2008
    My son is 15, he was 7 when he was diagnosed. He was over the fear and trauma of testing by the time we left the hospital.

    If I could design the perfect meter (accuracy is most important of course) for my son it would be flat so it could fit in his pocket or a spi belt behind his pump. The meter, lancet and strip container would be one piece, with a light and a locator that would beep if he lost it, like a find my meter app similar to the find my Ipod app. The test strips would come stuck together, next to each other in the shape of a playing card that would fit into the meter and only need to be changed every 20 tests. The attached lancet would hold a drum of lancets that only needed to be changed every 20 tests as well. There would also be room for an extra lancet drum and an extra card of strips in the back of the meter. It would also be able to send the blood sugar reading to his pump. I don't want much!

    What school do you go to, we would be happy to help you! Good luck! -Allison
  17. SarahKelly

    SarahKelly Approved members

    Nov 14, 2009
    My son was 19 months at diagnosis and the blood sugar checks were never an issue in terms of pain or fear.
    However, I do believe that it would be very beneficial if you could have a meter (for hours programmed, daytime only :) ) that read aloud the blood sugar or stated something simple like your blood glucose value is high, low or just right. Something that could be recorded with their caregivers voice that tells them in their families terms where that individual value lies and for the programmed values that are high/low/just right for that child. For example if Isaac checked himself and he was 300, the machine would say, "300, your blood glucose value is high".
    A light would be nice along with the capability to time it so that it doesn't turn off while you're wrestling with a sleeping child.
  18. sugarmonkey

    sugarmonkey Approved members

    Feb 16, 2008
    All the above are good ideas. I think my son would like it if the meters had an option for reading aloud the result. He frequently tests, then doesn't read the result.

    For me a big one is all meters being more accurate, and uniformly accurate. Having our government recently foist a completely inaccurate meter on our country, its ridiculous that a meter so inaccurate is available anywhere.

    Also, some sort of locator thingy. Right from dx the biggest issue with testing for DS is losing his meter. No matter how much I tell him to put it in the same place after testing, he always loses it.
  19. Cardonea1

    Cardonea1 New Member

    Jan 24, 2014
    Thank you all so much, this is great information! I went and bought a meter and lancing device today so I could experience the product myself, and I felt like the anticipation of pain was the worst part. It took me a while to actually press the button!

    I am glad that you all made me aware of the struggle during night hours, I had not even thought of that at this point, so that is very helpful. After starting my research this week I have been wondering non stop why they have not made an 'all in one' yet. Why isn't the lancing device built into the meter? After using it, it seems like many steps, and I'm wondering if I could design something that eliminates some of those steps.

    I will definitely be keeping in mind skins, covers, cases, and the personality of the device, but first I am looking to focus on the 'overall experience' and making the experience better. What if testing blood sugar could somehow not be so routine, but rather rewarding or somewhat fun. (I don't think it could literally be 'fun' but I hope you understand I am just going through my thought process because I don't want to miss any opportunities). The skins and personality will come later in the project and are more styling.

    Let me confirm... So blood sugar should be monitored quite frequently throughout the day, and in many places, school, home, out, and bed. So the device should essentially be something that can be taken out and done quickly, with as few steps possible. I am trying to make it the quickest and most convenient for the user.

    Thank you all for the feedback and support, It made me very happy. Please keep it coming! Lakeman, and anyone else, thank you for asking your daughter, it is much appreciated. There's no better feedback then from the actual user in the age group that I am designing for . Soon I will be coming up with a couple concepts and would love to post them and hear your thoughts! Again, I am so happy that you are all kind enough to give me some of your time, and am hoping you don't mind if I keep you posted on my progress throughout the project, and are willing to continue giving me feedback.
  20. swellman

    swellman Approved members

    Jul 30, 2008
    For us testing has never been scary. Period. It's a pain in the finger to be sure but not scary.

    If you're looking for design input I'm thinking a non-intrusive, over the finger-tip, IR Fourier transform BG meter. Make that happen.

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