The National Evidence-Based Clinical Care Guidelines for Type 1 Diabetes in Children, Adolescents and Adults 1 recommend that the matching of mealtime insulin dose to carbohydrate intake should be considered for patients using multiple daily injection therapy. Implementing this recommendation in practice requires clients to have a reasonable knowledge of the carbohydrate content of food as well as mathematical skills which enable them to calculate the amount of carbohydrate to be consumed. This study aimed to determine if children and adolescents accessing diabetes education services at St Vincent's Health and Community Services in Bathurst have the necessary skills and knowledge to implement this recommendation.
Surveys consisting of 10 open and closed questions were distributed via post to 35 clients with Type 1 Diabetes aged 25 or less. Clients were asked to complete the surveys with or without parental assistance and to indicate whether assistance had been required to complete the survey. A 34% response rate was achieved.
Results of the survey's indicated that all respondents were aware that carbohydrates increase blood glucose levels and could identify carbohydrate containing foods. When completing the two questions about carbohydrate quantification 45% and 63% were able to correctly calculate the amount of carbohydrate in a specified meal and snack respectively to within 7g.
These findings indicate that children, adolescents and young adults and their parents in our clinic are good at identifying carbohydrate containing foods but many of them lack the necessary skills and knowledge to accurately calculate the carbohydrate content of mixed meals and snacks and require further education in this area.