We’re #WalsallandProud of Debbie McCausland, Lead Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, who has been voted in as Chair of the West Midlands Children and Young People’s Diabetes Network.
Debbie, who’s been a member of the network steering group for nearly three years now, works with healthcare professionals both locally and nationally to maintain high standards of care across the region; learning about what’s new in the diabetes world and sharing examples of good practice.
Having joined the trust in 1988, she has experience across both adult nursing and paediatrics; spending 14 years of her career as a sister on Walsall Manor Hospital’s children’s ward. The mum-of-three then made the move into the Diabetes Services in November 2014; a role that has seen her develop the service and sees her, alongside the rest of the paediatric diabetes team, supporting children and young people (and their families) with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
She explained: “We’re seeing an increase in the number of Type 2 children nationally but in particular within the Walsall area – this is largely because of the changes in lifestyle. Sugary and fatty foods combined with a lack of exercise means children are now more likely to develop the condition.
Debbie explains that although diabetes management is about teaching the patients to be as independent as possible according to their age, it is not just the children who need to be educated, but the whole family and their carers!
“It isn’t just the child who needs informed, it’s the aunties, uncles, grandparents and all other relatives who help them to manage their condition.”
“This alongside raising awareness with teachers should help the patients grow in confidence and feel prepared when transitioning into adult care.”
Debbie describes how by teaching self-management – patients accepting that they need to test their sugars, taking their insulin before meals and being physically active – it will reduce the need for hospital admissions and hopefully the need to be hospitalised when they’re older.
When asked how it felt to be voted in as chair of the network she replied: “I feel honoured and am pleased that they think I’m up to the job. With the help of the paediatric diabetes team here at Walsall I want to lead the network and ensure that all the small units are represented and have their say in what happens to all the children and young people in our care. ”
“Going forward, the network will continue with on-going projects and will move forward to ensure that those patients with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes receive a high standard of care – helping them achieve normal child and adolescent development. This work includes:
- Continuation of a standardisation of diabetes education for schools across the West Midlands, by supporting teaching staff to understand diabetes, supporting them with the skills to help with insulin injections and insulin pumps
- Further developing of the regional Type 2 diabetes guidelines for children and young people and taking this forward to develop at a national level
- Further development in the use of new technologies
- Working with Diabetes Networks across the UK to look at standards of care in all areas of paediatric diabetes especially the transitional age range – 16-19yrs, through audits and research
- Ensuring the network relationship with NHS England in the provision of Diabetes Best Practice Tariff for the future as without the financial gain then it will be very hard for small local services to achieve this high standard of care
- Strengthening the relationships between Paediatric Trusts across the region and nationally to ensure that we offer the best care possible.”
Well done Debbie!