Objective: To explore the experiences of adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and their parents taking part in an overnight closed loop study at home, using qualitative and quantitative research methods.
Research design and methods: Adolescents aged 12-18 years on insulin pump therapy were recruited to a pilot closed loop study in the home setting. Following training on the use of a study insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), participants were randomized to receive either real-time CGM combined with overnight closed loop or real-time CGM alone followed by the alternative treatment for an additional 21 days with a 2-3-week washout period in between study arms. Semistructured interviews were performed to explore participants' perceptions of the impact of the closed loop technology. At study entry and again at the end of each 21-day crossover arm of the trial, participants completed the Diabetes Technology Questionnaire (DTQ) and Hypoglycemia Fear Survey (HFS; also completed by parents).
Results: 15 adolescents and 13 parents were interviewed. Key positive themes included reassurance/peace of mind, confidence, 'time off' from diabetes demands, safety, and improved diabetes control. Key negative themes included difficulties with calibration, alarms, and size of the devices. DTQ results reflected these findings. HFS scores were mixed.
Conclusions: Closed loop insulin delivery represents cutting-edge technology in the treatment of T1DM. Results indicate that the psychological and physical benefits of the closed loop system outweighed the practical challenges reported. Further research from longitudinal studies is required to determine the long-term psychosocial benefit of the closed loop technology.
Keywords: Adolescent Diabetes; Artificial Pancreas; Psychosocial Factors; Type 1.