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Making routine injections a success

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Making routine injections a success

Many Canadian children are faced with daily or routine injections to manage different conditions. For example, current estimates suggest that approximately 240,000 Canadians, or 1 in 150, have type 1 diabetes, requiring daily injections and up to 2,500 Canadian children take daily growth hormone injections.

Routine injections may cause anxiety and apprehension for many children but they can also take a toll on the entire family. As a parent, it’s important to keep a positive attitude to make injections a success for your child and family. This can be achieved by practicing some of the following principles:
Speak openly with your child. Explain why the injection is needed and how it will help. Frequent communication will help build trust and a common goal for you and your child.
Normalize the injection by working it into your child’s routine. A shared room in the home such as the kitchen encourages other family members to see, hear and possibly participate in the injection process.  
Encourage involvement from brothers and sisters by suggesting tasks which are both safe and manageable by the sibling. This might include holding their sibling’s hand, distracting them, speaking words of encouragement or being part of playtime afterward.
Offer your child choices to involve them in the injection process. This will help encourage interest and cooperation. An example of a choice to give your child might be:
“When you are holding still do you want to push the plunger or count with me?”

New technological devices help parents and children with routine injections. As an example, novel child-friendly technologies, such as easypod™, are designed specifically for child use and involvement. easypod™ is a electronic autoinjector device used to administer recombinant growth hormone. Children can personalize new injection tools and make them their own to help get them involved in the injection process.

There are also resources available for parents and caregivers. In fact, a new resource for families was developed by Canadian nurses and a child-life specialist called Injection Success. This booklet offers additional tips on managing injections, including tips for sleepovers and camping and managing the effect of the diagnosis on the whole family. For parents of children seeing a pediatric endocrinologist or endocrinology nurse, they should ask them about Injection Success at their next visit. Parents can also visit or call 1-877-724-9361 to get a copy of Injection Success.

• Dr. McAssey is a Pediatric Endocrinologist at McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences