Whittaker, Jennifer A.
The effect of Insulin Pump Therapy on children and adolescents’ quality of life: A qualitative study.
D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.
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Introduction: Insulin Pump Therapy has gained worldwide acceptance for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D), offering a new method of insulin delivery, which circumvents the need for Multiple Daily Injections (MDI). It is thought to improve quality of life (QoL) by facilitating an increase in lifestyle flexibility, independence and glycaemic control (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, 2010; National Institute for Clinical Excellence, 2008). These benefits have resulted in the National Health Service (NHS) Scotland pledging funding of at least £1million to deliver insulin pumps to under 18s (Scottish Government, 2012). Currently, investigations regarding the impact of Insulin Pump Therapy on QoL have resulted in conflicting findings (Barnard et al., 2007). This study aims to explore the impact of Insulin Pump Therapy on the QoL of children and adolescents, using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Method: Eight participants with T1D, aged between 8 and 13 years and using an insulin pump, were recruited from the Glasgow Royal Hospital for Sick Children Diabetes Clinic. Each participant completed an in-depth interview, which explored their beliefs and attitudes towards Insulin Pump Therapy including its impact on their QoL.
Results: Analysis of the transcripts led to the identification of six super-ordinate themes: ‘Physical Impact’, ‘Mood and Behaviour’, ‘Lifestyle Flexibility’, ‘Practicalities’, ‘Peer Reactions’, and ‘Support’. It is suggested that these six factors are not mutually exclusive and together inform the complexity of individuals’ experiences and the impact that the insulin pump has had on many aspects of their lives. These findings suggest a framework to help clinicians understand how young people with T1D perceive and conceptualise their treatment regimes.
Conclusions: There was general agreement amongst participants that switching to Insulin Pump Therapy resulted in improvements to their QoL. Additional concerns were outlined but reportedly none of the participants regretted switching to an insulin pump.
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