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Pediatric Diabetes Program

The Pediatric Diabetes Program is located in the 2G Child & Youth Clinic at McMaster Children’s Hospital. The team provides care to children up to 18 years old with diabetes and their families. We help children who have just learned they have diabetes and those who have had diabetes for many years.

Our team provides family-centered care. This means that the care we provide reflects what matters most to our patients and families. At our clinic, your child and family will work closely with a team of health care providers. Our doctors, nurses, dietitians, social worker, child life specialist work together to make a plan for your child’s health and care. Together, we will help your child and family learn about diabetes and how to live well

Care We Provide

Your child and family members will work closely with our team members to make a plan for your child’s care. We will help your child and family members learn about diabetes and how to live well.

The ultimate goal of the program is to generate a detailed assessment of clinical, psychosocial, and metabolic data that can be used to create a personalized care plan for each child based on the key factors contributing to their diabetes.

Our team is also involved in research and outreach visits to community hospitals. We are part of the Ontario Network of Pediatric Diabetes Programs.

What to Bring

  • Your child’s Health Card. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care requires us to validate your health card at every clinic visit
  • Record of your glucose values (for example, log book, blood glucose meter, flash glucose meter, continuous glucose sensor data, etc)
  • Any technology that your child uses to help with their diabetes management
  • List and dosage of any medications your child takes.
  • Any forms you need signed by the physician.

When you arrive, please check-in at the reception desk. The Business Clerk will register you in the electronic system so that your team will know that you have arrived.

Note: If your child is unwell or has a communicable disease such as Chicken Pox or has been in contact with someone with Chicken Pox, please call the clinic before you come to the hospital.

Team Members

At the Pediatric Diabetes Clinic, we provide outpatient care to meet the needs and goals of children and their families. Doing this well takes teamwork. You, your child and family will work closely with our staff, as a team.

Pediatric Endocrinologist

• Answers your questions about your child’s diabetes
• Provides advice for your child’s insulin therapy
• Helps prevent, detect and manage health concerns that are related to diabetes

Nurse Practitioner

• Helps you, your child, and family learn how to manage diabetes
• Provides additional medical follow-up outside of clinic
• Gives you support to manage your child’s diabetes, at your clinic visits and over the phone
• Teaches your child in a way that matches his or her age and stage of development

Registered Nurse

• Helps you, your child, and family learn how to manage diabetes
• Gives you support to manage your child’s diabetes, at your clinic visits and over the phone.
• Teaches your child in a way that matches his or her age and stage of development.

Registered Dietitian

• Helps you and your child understand the relationship between food and blood sugars
• Helps you learn about a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating
• Helps you and your child plan meals that include favourite foods

Social Worker

• Provides counseling and therapy to your child or family when facing a crisis, mental health or relationship problems.
• Helps your child and your family to develop healthy coping skills.
• Helps your family find solutions to day to day diabetes concerns and improve communication.
• Connects your child and family with helpful community resources.
• Helps your family find ways to manage the cost of diabetes.

Child Life Specialist

• Helps you, your child and family to adjust to life with diabetes.
• Helps your child understand diabetes and cope with treatment.
• Provides ways for your child to safely express his or her feelings through play.
• Helps your child overcome challenges they may face as they develop and grow.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the immune system in the body attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that allows the body to use the sugar from the food we eat for energy. When a person has Type 1 Diabetes, the body is no longer able to produce insulin. Sugar then builds up in the blood.

Type 2 Diabetes: With Type 2 Diabetes, the pancreas still makes insulin, however the pancreas either does not make enough insulin or the body is unable to use the insulin properly. Sugar then builds up in the blood.

Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes (CFRD): Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes (CFRD) is a kind of diabetes that can develop in people with Cystic Fibrosis. CFRD is thought to be caused by thick mucous in the pancreas. This can either cause damage to the cells that make insulin, or block the insulin from being released to the body. Sugar then builds up in the blood.

MODY (Mature Onset Diabetes in Youth): MODY is a rare form of diabetes that runs in families. It is caused by a genetic mutation that stops the pancreas from making enough insulin. Sugar then builds up in the blood.

Referral Process

If you suspect your patient has new onset type 1 diabetes: Please contact the Endocrinologist on call at McMaster Children’s Hospital (Paging: 905-521-5030) or send your patient to the nearest Emergency Department for urgent assessment.

If you would like your child to have an appointment: Please ask your doctor to refer your child to the Pediatric Diabetes Clinic.

Eligibility: We welcome all children and youth up to 18 years of age, including children who have just learned they have diabetes and those who have had diabetes for many years.

How to refer: Referrals are made from a pediatrician, family doctor or nurse practitioner by faxing the required form to the specialist as instructed below.

  1. For instructions, please refer to the following document: How to refer a Patient
  2. Review the Guidelines for a Pediatric Diabetes Referral to a Tertiary Care Centre: Consultation to tertiary PDEP
  3. Complete and fax a Diabetes referral form: Pediatric Diabetes Program Referral Form
  4. Please include
    1. Recent laboratory investigation
    2. Growth charts
    3. Any other information you feel is relevant

All referrals can be faxed directly to the clinic at 905-521-5056.

Urgent referrals: The clinics are not for emergencies. If your child needs to be seen on an urgent basis, please contact your family doctor or go to your local emergency department.