OHSU

Children

Seeing a Pediatric Diabetes Specialist (Endocrinologist)

Children - Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center
When you arrive, a medical assistant will greet you and your child. The medical assistant will measure your child's height, weight and blood pressure and take an A1C reading that will give us information about your child's blood sugar over the past three months.

Next, you and your child will meet members of our diabetes team. Your child's doctor is a pediatric endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in caring for children with diabetes and other conditions. If this is your first visit to the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center, we also encourage you to meet one of our pediatric diabetes educators and our pediatric nutritionist.

Our diabetes educators are nurses who specialize in helping children with diabetes and their families. They will talk with you about how your child's diabetes is treated. They can give you advice on what works best for your child's age and development. A diabetes educator can also help you work with your child's school to make sure the school has an up-to-date plan for your child's treatment and in case of emergency.

Our pediatric nutritionist specializes in helping children with diabetes eat right and stay as healthy as possible. The nutritionist can talk with you about your child's eating habits, review and update meal plans and explain how keeping track of food and carbohydrates is important to control blood sugar and stay healthy.

Your child's doctor (pediatric endocrinologist) will review your child's height, weight, blood pressure, A1C and blood sugar information. The doctor will also review your child's health records and the information from physical examinations. The doctor will pay attention to any problems caused by diabetes and any related conditions like hypothyroidism or celiac disease. If you have already talked with a diabetes educator and a nutritionist, your child's doctor will include their advice in your child's personal treatment plan. If your child's school needs information, we will send it to them.

If your child or your family is having problems adjusting to diabetes, the doctor may recommend talking with our Diabetes Child and Adolescent Psychologist. The psychologist can help you, your child and the rest of your family adjust to diabetes. We also have a social worker who specializes in working with children and families. The social worker can help with social challenges, such as financial problems or problems with transportation, that could keep your child from coming to see the doctor and staying as healthy as possible.

At the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center, we believe families are an important part of the diabetes care team. When families are involved in care, children with diabetes live healthier lives. Our goal is to help you create the best plan for managing your child's diabetes. If you have questions at any time, ask your doctor, diabetes educator or another staff member.

Seeing a Pediatric Nutritionist

A pediatric nutritionist can help in many different ways. You can talk with the nutritionist about food, carbohydrates and nutrition, or just have a question and answer session. Our nutritionist can do a complete nutritional assessment for your child. This includes:

  • Checking your child's growth (height and weight)
  • Teaching you and your child about carbohydrate counting
  • Helping you plan appropriate meals and physical activity
  • Giving advice on vitamins and minerals
  • Any other nutrition needs

Seeing a Child Psychologist

People with diabetes can feel stressed, depressed or anxious at times. To stay as healthy as possible, your child needs to control stress, depression and anxiety. This can help keep blood sugar and diabetes under control. At the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center, our psychologist is here to help children, teens and their families.

The psychologist can help with:

  • Adjusting to being diagnosed with diabetes
  • Helping your child stick with a treatment plan
  • Staying healthy while coping with stress
  • Getting rid of unhealthy habits
  • Helping your family make good decisions
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Medication, if needed

Seeing a Social Worker

Our social worker provides support and information for children, teens and their families. Having type 1 or type 2 diabetes means changing your routines and expectations. Having a medical condition like diabetes can be stressful, but people who adjust to having diabetes usually manage their condition better and stay healthier.

Social workers can:

  • Help arrange transportation to appointments
  • Help with insurance questions
  • Help with questions about finances and payment
  • Make referrals to mental health providers
  • Help with arrangements at home, school and other places

The social worker may come in during your clinic appointment to introduce herself and explain how she can help. She will ask you and your child questions to help her learn more about your family and your needs. You may ask to meet with the social worker during your visit, or call her between appointments at 503 494-8788.

Diabetes Education for Children and Families

At the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center, our certified pediatric diabetes educators care for children with diabetes and their families. Their goal is to help you and your child manage diabetes throughout childhood. Diabetes educators help you learn about treatment options, and teach you and your child the skills to manage diabetes.

The Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center, in partnership with Doernbecher Children's Hospital, is the only center of its kind in the Portland area. Our team of pediatric specialists includes:

  • Certified pediatric nurse diabetes educators
  • A registered dietitian
  • A pediatric social worker
  • A child psychologist
  • Board certified pediatric endocrinologists - doctors trained to care for children with diabetes and related conditions.

Having pediatrics and adult diabetes care in one place helps children and teens continue their care, education and support as they become adults. We provide a full range of education services that begin when your child is diagnosed and continue through young adulthood.

Diabetes Education in the Hospital

When your child is first diagnosed with diabetes, they may be in the hospital. Our pediatric diabetes educators teach you and your child how to monitor blood glucose (blood sugar) and give insulin shots. We will also give you information on meal planning and how to handle high and low blood sugar. When your child goes home, diabetes educators stay in touch by phone to review your child's blood sugar (blood glucose), adjust insulin doses and answer questions. Our educators will also meet with you at the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center, usually two to four weeks after your child is diagnosed with diabetes.

Diabetes Education in Our Clinic

Diabetes educators can teach you and your child, help coordinate your care at the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center and provide emotional support. Education may include:

  • Learning to adjust insulin
  • Advanced carbohydrate counting
  • Blood sugar management for participation in sports
  • Using new technologies

Your child will usually see the doctor (pediatric endocrinologist) and diabetes educator three or four times a year, and meet once or twice a year with our pediatric nutritionist. We also encourage you to see our social worker or psychologist if you need to.

Insulin Pump/Glucose Sensor Education

An insulin pump is an exciting choice for many families, as there is no need for multiple daily insulin injections with an insulin pump. However, switching to an insulin pump requires time, effort and a good understanding of diabetes basics. If your child starts using an insulin pump, we want to be sure you have the skills to use it safely and correctly. We provide one-on-one teaching in how to use the pump or glucose sensor.

Calling Your Diabetes Educator

We are available by phone to help you with any questions or concerns. You also have 24-hour access to the diabetes team for emergencies, help during sick days or if you have problems. To reach the Diabetes Education office, call 503 494-8664

For more information about the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center or to make an appointment, call 503 494-3273.