Diabetes Nurse Educator and Nurse Clinician, Ms Lim Pei Kwee, guides Rae on obtaining a glucose level reading using the flash glucose monitoring system. Image © KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
When Rae was two years old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. To prevent the risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) or hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose), his blood glucose level had to be monitored closely. For Rae’s mother, Serena, it was a challenge to do the finger prick test on her toddler; sometimes it had to be done up to 10 times a day. “I had to prick him on his fingers and toes so that I do not reuse the prick sites,” she said. “This was the only way to check his blood glucose level and make sure that he was safe.”
To drastically reduce the number of times Rae had to be pricked, his doctor at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) recommended using a Glucose Monitoring System (GMS). The system consists of a flat circular sensor that is inserted into the patient’s upper arm, and a reader to ‘scan’ the sensor to obtain a reading of the prevailing glucose level at any time. A chart of the patient’s recent glucose levels is also displayed on the screen of the reader.
With the GMS inserted into his arm, Rae can monitor his glucose levels more comfortably and conveniently, and go to school without the need to prick his finger in between lessons. Using the GMS also enables Rae and Serena to respond to fluctuations in glucose levels quickly, preventing hypoglycaemia or hyperclycaemia. Using the reports, targeted advice can be provided to fine-tune his dietary choices, lifestyle activities and insulin treatment plan, achieving optimal diabetes management.
“Diabetes is a chronic condition and it is critical to monitor blood glucose levels regularly, especially with patients this young,” shared A/Prof Fabian Yap, Head and Senior Consultant, Division of Medicine, KKH. “At KKH, we want patients and their caregivers to learn more about the condition and how to manage it without any hassle. However, as the treatment for this chronic disease is very costly, it places a strain on many families’ finances.”
To make the GMS more accessible to paediatric diabetic patients, the EtonHouse Community Fund (ECF) has made a donation of $225,000 to the KKH Health Fund. This gift will support about 60 children with diabetes from less advantaged families and will empower them and their caregivers to follow established diabetes care plans for the child. The gift will also be instrumental in supporting education and outreach initiatives like diabetes camps for patients and their caregivers, fostering a support network benefitting both patients’ and their caregivers’ well-being holistically.
"Through this partnership, we hope that children living with this chronic disease will be empowered and confident in school,” shared Mrs Ng Gim Choo, Director of ECF. “By being able to actively participate in all aspects of learning, they will be able to experience a more joyful and fulfilling childhood” she added.