Background: International literature indicates that the majority of children are not receiving insulin at school (1). Younger children require more assistance with care and therefore administration of insulin at school may be difficult. Currently, diabetes research in Australian primary schools is limited.
Aim: To describe insulin administration practices in Australian primary schools: Kindergarten - Year 2.
Method: A cross-sectional, quantitative research approach. The self-administered questionnaire was modeled on an existing tool (2) and the literature review. Designed and delivered online via Survey Monkey. Parents (n=66) of children with Type 1 diabetes were recruited via Facebook. Children were aged between 4 - 8 yrs with a duration of diabetes between 1 month - 7 years. 33 males, 33 females, 23 Kindergarten, 23 Year 1 and 20 Year 2 students. Majority living in NSW (39.4%), QLD (27.3%) and VIC (19.7%), attending Government schools (69.7%), from a metropolitan area (63.6%).
Results: SPSS v21, 77.3% received insulin at school. 66.7% of those were on insulin pumps. Children in large metropolitan areas were more likely (83%) to receive insulin (66% pumps) than those from rural areas (66%), (33% pumps). More children were receiving insulin in Year 1 (95.6%), (48.7% pumps) than Kindergarten (69.6%), (28% pumps) or year 2 (65%), (22.8% pumps). Insulin was delivered primarily by the child (33%). With similar percentages of teachers (23%), parents (20%) and teacher’s aides (20%). Females were more likely to administer their own insulin (50%) than males (16%). 55% of Year 2 students self administered insulin, Kindergarten 26%, Year 1 52%, however less children in Year 2 received insulin at school. A Chi-square test for independence indicated a significant association between receiving insulin at school and insulin pump therapy, x2 (1, n = 66) =14.4, p= .000, phi = .50.
Conclusion: The data indicated that children on insulin pump therapy were more likely to receive insulin at school. Further research is required to explore barriers to insulin administration at school.