A national survey of 509 parents of children with newly diagnosed diabetes elicited a 92% response rate, showing that 96% of children were admitted to hospital, 42% staying in hospital longer than one week and 41% received an intravenous infusion. More than 90% of parents expressed satisfaction with the information given at diagnosis, the preparation they received before discharge home, and the outpatient follow up services. Home visits from a diabetes nurse specialist (DNS) were received by 73% of families and 44% reported that the DNS was the most supportive person in the first year after diagnosis. Readmission during the first 12 months after diagnosis was required by 23% of children, more often in the youngest age group. Poor liaison with schools and the lack of diabetes knowledge in teachers were the sources of greatest dissatisfaction. Children under the care of paediatricians with no specialist interest in diabetes were significantly more likely to be kept in hospital longer at diagnosis and parents were less satisfied with outpatient care and school liaison. The study supports previous recommendations that diabetes nurse specialists are a priority resource in providing support services and that every district should have a paediatrician with a special interest in diabetes and a designated children's diabetic clinic.
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