Background: Type 1 diabetes is one of the most frequent long-term endocrine childhood disorders and the Swedish National Diabetes Register for children states that adolescents (12-18 years) constitute the most vulnerable patient group in terms of metabolic control. The aim of this study was to examine how a multidisciplinary team functions when caring for adolescents with type 1 diabetes.
Methods: Qualitative interviews were performed with 17 health professionals at a Paediatric Diabetes Care Unit in a Swedish university hospital. The interviews were analysed to gain insight into a multidisciplinary care team's experiences of various organizational processes and circumstances related to the provision of person-centred paediatric diabetes care.
Results: Building long-term relationships with adolescents, the establishment of a multidisciplinary care team and ensuring adequate documentation are vital for the delivery of person-centred care (PCC). Furthermore, a PCC process and/or practice requires more than the mere expression of person-centred values. The contribution of this study is that it highlights the necessity of facilitating and safeguarding the organization of PCC, for which three processes are central: 1. Facilitating long-term relationships with adolescents and their families; 2. Facilitating multi-professional teamwork; and 3. Ensuring adequate documentation.
Conclusion: Three processes emerged as important for the functioning of the multidisciplinary team when caring for adolescents with type 1 diabetes: building a long-term relationship, integrating knowledge by means of multidisciplinary team work and ensuring adequate documentation. This study demonstrates the importance of clearly defining and making use of the specific role of each team member in the paediatric diabetes care unit (PDCU). Team members should receive training in PCC and a PCC approach should form the foundation of all diabetes care. Every adolescent suffering from type 1 diabetes should be offered individual treatment and support according to her/his needs. However, more research is required to determine how a PCC approach can be integrated into adolescent diabetes care, and especially how PCC education programmes for team members should be implemented.