Adolescents’ and their parents’ experiences of using a closed-loop system to manage type 1 diabetes in everyday life: qualitative study

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Abstract

Objectives
Type 1 diabetes can have life-shattering consequences for adolescents and parents. A closed-loop system is a cutting-edge technology which automatically regulates glucose to reduce the burden of diabetes management. We explored adolescents’ and parents’ experiences of using this technology to understand how it affects their biographies and everyday lives.
Methods
In-depth interviews with 18 adolescents newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and 21 parents after ≥12 months experience using closed-loop technology. Data were analysed thematically.
Results
Participants reported very few disruptions to their lives when using a closed-loop. Reports of family conflict were minimal as the closed-loop enabled dietary flexibility and glucose levels to be checked effortlessly. Adolescents described doing ‘normal’ activities without worrying about high/low glucose, and parents reported allowing them to do so unsupervised because the closed-loop would regulate their glucose and keep them safe. Some adolescents expressed concerns about the visibility of components and, to avoid stigma, described curtailing activities such as swimming. Participants described how the closed-loop enabled adolescents to be in control of, or create distance from, diabetes.
Discussion
The closed-loop has life-enhancing consequences for both adolescents and parents and helps to reduce the biographical disruption of type 1 diabetes in this age group.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChronic Illness
Early online date20 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jan 2021

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