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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
Our diabetes and endocrinology department cares for children with juvenile diabetes (also known as type 1 diabetes). Managing diabetes in children and adolescents is a unique challenge, because it requires a true partnership with the child and caregiver, who need to monitor the child's blood sugar levels, adopt lifestyle changes, and stick to a routine of insulin injections (and/or other medications).
To stay healthy, children with diabetes must keep their blood sugar levels within a safe target range, as measured by a test known as the hemoglobin A1c (or HbA1c)
test. We work with patients to make sure they visit our specialists regularly and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The percentage of our patients with blood sugar levels in the target range tells us how successful our care is.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) sets the goal for diabetes care in children. In the past, the ADA's recommended targets for hemoglobin A1c levels varied by age group: below 8.5 percent for children under age 6, below 8 percent for children ages 6 to 12, and below 7.5 percent for children ages 13 to 19.
In 2014, the ADA revised and tightened these guidelines, recommending that all children under 19 have hemoglobin A1c levels below 7.5 percent. Although we continue to meet or exceed the national benchmarks for every age group, the stricter ADA standard means the percentage of type 1 diabetes patients under age 12 meeting the target blood sugar levels appears to have dropped (as shown by the dotted lines below):
(Last updated: March 30, 2015. All charts show most recent available data.)
Our ultimate target is for 100 percent of our patients to have blood sugar levels in the healthy range. In the graph above, the green line represents that ultimate target.
Currently, families whose children have not been seen in the past 60 days receive a phone call to book follow-up visits. By encouraging follow-up visits on a regular basis, we can better monitor hemoglobin A1c levels and suggest additional treatments and lifestyle changes for children whose blood sugar levels are too high.
Not all children's hospitals report this information publicly, so it's not possible to systematically compare our performance to that of other hospitals. Instead, we evaluate ourselves according to the NCQA and ADA targets.
For more information on our diabetes care, visit our Diabetes Program.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”