Purpose: The purpose of this article is to describe the process of educating families and children with type 1 diabetes on real time continuous glucose monitoring (RT-CGM) and to note the similarities and differences of training patients using continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) versus multiple daily injections (MDI).
Methods: A total of 30 CSII participants and 27 MDI participants were educated using the Navigator RT-CGM in a clinical trial. Time spent with families for visits and calls was tracked and compared between patient groups. The Diabetes Research in Children Network (DirecNet) educators were surveyed to assess the most crucial, time intensive, and difficult educational concepts related to CGM.
Results: Of the 27 MDI families, an average of 9.6 hours was spent on protocol-prescribed visits and calls (not measured in CSII) and 2 hours on participant-initiated contacts over 3 months. MDI families required an average of 5.4 more phone contacts over 3 months than CSII families. According to the DirecNet educators, lag time and calibrations were the most crucial teaching concepts for successful RT-CGM use. The most time was spent on teaching technical aspects, troubleshooting, and insulin dosing. The most unanticipated difficulties were skin problems including irritation and the sensor not adhering well.
Conclusion: Educators who teach RT-CGM should emphasize lag time and calibration techniques, technical device training, and sensor insertion. Follow-up focus should include insulin dosing adjustments and skin issues. The time and effort required to introduce RT-CGM provided an opportunity for the diabetes educators to reemphasize good diabetes care practices and promote self-awareness and autonomy to patients and families.