Aim The aim of our survey was to assess the preferred method of correspondence to parents and young people with diabetes following their clinic appointments.
Background In April 2004 guidelines were introduced advising that letters to the GP should be copied to parents of young people. Currently there is an increasing trend towards writing to the families directly.
Methodology We undertook a survey between October 2014 to December 2014. A total of 20 families completed the survey. Questionnaires were distributed to families and children above the age of 10 years in the clinic.
Results 70% of parents requested that copies of clinic letters be sent. All of them who received the clinic letters indicated that they read the letters. For 40% parents and young children the preferred option was for the letter to be primarily written to them and copied to the GP. 30% preferred the option of letter written to the GP with a copy sent to them. 20% preferred a short letter indicating only the changes made in the clinic. Those who indicated that letters addressed to them as the preferred option felt that the letter would serve as a document for reference and they would be upto date with all the discussions and management plans made in clinics. There were some however you felt that technical terminology used in clinic letters may be confusing to them. 60% of the parents felt that 16 would be the right age for the young people to receive their own letters whereas 35% of the children felt that 14yrs and 30% felt that 15 yrs would be a reasonable age to receive their own clinic letters. Both parents and the young people felt that the letter should include all the relevant information including HbA1C, changes made to treatment, results of investigations and a clear follow up plan.
Conclusion Our study confirms the importance of sharing information discussed in clinics with families routinely but highlights the added benefit of addressing the letters to the patients (14 years and above) themselves with a copy sent to the parents (until 16 years of age).
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