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Diabetes Day Program

We provide education about diabetes and how to manage it to children who have recently been diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes.

The Diabetes Day Program (DDP) provides education about diabetes, including education for newly diagnosed families. The DDP is located in the Medical Day Unit (MDU) on the 2nd floor of BC Children’s Hospital. The education program for new families usually takes 3–4 full days over a 1- to 2-week period. Please arrive by 8 AM and plan to be here until about 5:30 PM each day. You will be able to go home and return the next morning.

For more information about the Diabetes Day Program, download our handout.

If your child has an infection

If your child has been in contact with any infectious diseases (e.g. chicken pox) in the three weeks before this visit, please let us know. Your child may need to be isolated from other children in the MDU.

What to bring along

Please bring the following to your visit:

  • your BC CareCard/Service Card
  • any blood glucose meter, sensor, pump, logbook, insulin or diabetes supplies that you already have
  • written information or hospital records that your family doctor or pediatrician has prepared for us

Where to stay and eat

If you are from outside of the Greater Vancouver area and need to find a place to stay, the BC Family Residence Program may cover the cost of accommodation, if you have an appointment booked.

Parents/caregivers can bring their own meals and snacks, or we can point out the coffee shops and cafeteria on site. The DDP has a small fridge, microwave, kettle and toaster that you can use.

More information about accommodations and food is available at BCCH's Your Visit page.

Younger siblings

All parents/guardians need to attend the diabetes education program to learn to care for their child. There are no childcare services for siblings. Please leave younger siblings at home with a sitter, or arrange for a family member to look after them at the hospital while you are learning.


If you need to contact the MDU, the phone number is 604-875-3680 or toll free in BC 1-888-300-3088, x3680. We look forward to meeting you and helping you learn about diabetes.


The education program

Please arrive by 8 AM, before your child eats anything. It is OK for them to drink water. Meals and snacks will be provided for your child with diabetes. We will do all insulin injections and blood sugar checks with you while you are learning. You will be able to take your child home at about 5:30 PM after dinner. If your child is in the hospital, your appointment in the DDP may be arranged for after breakfast. Your nurse will arrange for you to arrive by 9:30 AM. You will probably go home at 5:30 PM and return to the DDP the next morning.

There will be teaching sessions with the Diabetes Nurse Educator and Dietitian during the day. The MDU Nurses will also be here to help you learn about diabetes care. The Social Worker/Counsellor will also meet with you in the DDP or at your first follow-up appointment. You may wish to bring some quiet toys or activities for a young child, or some homework or toys for older children in case there is some free time.

During your time on the Diabetes Day Program, you will meet a number of members of our team:

  • clerical staff to book appointments
  • diabetes nurse educators to provide the formal part of the diabetes teaching
  • Medical Day Unit nurses who will assist families with performing fingerpokes and injections
  • diabetes dietitians to discuss the diabetic meal plan
  • a social worker/counsellor who can assist you in coping with the stresses of your child's new diagnosis, and in searching for local accommodations and other helpful resources
  • physicians who are specialists in childhood diabetes (pediatric endocrinologists)
  • because BC Children's Hospital is a teaching hospital, you may also meet doctors-in-training (pediatric residents, endocrinology fellows and medical students), dietitian interns and student nurses

During your time on the program, the Diabetes Nurse Educator will teach your family about: 

  • our current understanding of how diabetes happens
  • how to do fingerpokes to measure the blood sugar
  • the symptoms and treatment of high and low blood sugars
  • how to give insulin injections
  • how to manage the diabetes when your child is active
  • how to manage the diabetes when your child is sick

Our Diabetes Dietitian will take a detailed history of your child's eating habits. She will provide your child with an individualized diabetes meal plan, using the food choices of the Good Health Eating Guide Resource from the Canadian Diabetes Association. She will also teach you about healthy nutrition, food-label reading, food substitutions and dealing with special occasions (such as birthday parties). 

We will provide all of the contact numbers, educational materials and medical supplies that you need for the first week or so, as well as prescriptions for the ongoing diabetes supplies you will need once you are home.


After your child is discharged

After you are discharged, you will be asked to phone the endocrinologist-on-call every evening before dinner. They will take down your child's blood sugar readings for the previous day, and they will provide you with insulin doses for the next 24 hours. They will also be able to answer any questions you may have about your child's diabetes care. After a period of about 3–4 weeks, once the blood sugar readings and the insulin doses have stabilized, we will "graduate" your child from daily phone calls with the endocrinologist to weekly phone calls, faxes or e-mails with the Diabetes Clinic nurses. 

A detailed report of your child's assessment will be sent to your referring doctor, and to other health professionals at your request. Freedom of Information requests are managed by BC Children's Hospital Records Management & Patient Registration.

Seeing a social worker

Many of our patients or parents would like to see the social worker/counsellor on the first visit. If this is the case, please call us so that we can book an appointment when you are here.

Follow-up visits

Before your child is discharged from the Diabetes Day Program, you will receive an appointment for a follow-up visit to the Diabetes Clinic, generally within 1–2 months' time. After that, we see most patients every 6–12 months in the clinic, depending on your child's age, how far away you live, and your doctor's wishes.

Follow-up visits are shorter, about 2 hours to see everyone and go to the lab if necessary.

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SOURCE: Diabetes Day Program ( )
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