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New policy allows for more inclusive environment for students with Type 1 Diabetes.

Five smiling women stand around a smiling girl holding sign that say Bravo and Congratulations

Left to right: Josée Chiasson – teacher’s assistant, Lenka Lemelin-Lepage – teacher’s assistant, Janelle Samson-Maclean - principal, Ruby Black – 1st grade student at École des Beaux-Marais. and insulin champion, Mélissa Bédard – resource teacher, Sophie De Jong – vice principal

A new policy supporting the health and safety of Nova Scotia students living with diabetes was fully implemented at the start of this school year. The new Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD) Managing Diabetes in Schools Policy now allows students who require insulin injections with their lunch to receive this care from trained school staff. 

“The new Managing Diabetes in Schools Policy highlights the importance of ensuring that students with diabetes receive necessary health care support services to enable them to attend school,” says Cathy Younker, IWK Clinical Lead for School Health Partnership. “The biggest change to this new policy is the ability for trained school staff to support the administration of lunch time insulin injections.” 

Some students with diabetes may require insulin during instructional school hours and this new policy provides guidance around that. Responsibility is shared among school administration, staff, students, and parents/guardians and supported by health care professionals and School Health Partnership Nurses. 

“This change in policy enabled a thorough review and updating of the Diabetes Plan of Care, an important tool we use with school staff to support diabetes management,” says Younker. “Many different partners were included in the process, including parents of students with diabetes. The change also highlighted the need for more standardized teaching tools and resources for schools.  There are now great infographics to guide finger pokes and insulin injections at school, which were developed in collaboration between School Health Partnership, EECD, IWK and NSH School Health Partnership and experts within NS Diabetes Centres.

Under the new policy students have increased flexibility with meals, both content and quantity, and in the timing of meals, while improving glucose control.  Being able to administer lunch time or midday injections of insulin lowers the number of low and high glucoses experienced by the student. A healthier glucose means that the student’s brain is better equipped to learn, and to participate in activities with their peers. Overall improved glucose management also leads to better long-term health outcomes.  

“This new diabetes policy allows us to further individualize the student’s plan of care,” says Younker. “It normalizes diabetes treatments for all and allows for a more inclusive environment for students with Type 1 Diabetes.” 

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.