Mother says son's insulin continues to be administered improperly at school

·2 min read
Carrie Dean's six-year-old son, Bellemey, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a year ago. (Brooklyn Currie/CBC - image credit)
Carrie Dean's six-year-old son, Bellemey, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a year ago. (Brooklyn Currie/CBC - image credit)

After Carrie Dean drops her six-year-old son off at school, she does a lot of worrying.

Dean's son, Bellemey, has Type 1 diabetes, and Dean said for the last year his insulin injections have not been handled properly at school.

"His A1C levels are constantly high. I'm being looked at [by his doctor] like it's my fault he's high, but he's not in my care during the day," she said.

The Halifax mother said the province needs to update its guidelines surrounding training schools staff to help diabetic children.

VON administers Bellemey's insulin

In 2021, after Bellemey Dean was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, his mom would go into the school every day to administer his insulin.

In Nova Scotia, school staff and administration can be trained to monitor blood glucose levels and supervise insulin injection, but they are not required to get this training.

At Bellemey's school, staff were never trained to do this. Eventually an arrangement was made for a nurse from the Victorian Order of Nurses, or VON, to administer the insulin every day.

Dean was relieved, but she was told the VON was meant to be a temporary measure and that school staff would be trained to monitor her son's levels and give him the insulin.

Education Department says guidelines coming

The Nova Scotia Department of Education told her new guidelines for training school staff on diabetes and insulin were in the works, and talks between the Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia, the IWK and Nova Scotia Health were taking place to determine these guidelines.

Over a year later, the Department of Education said those guidelines are still being finalized, but has not offered a timeline or any more information.

In a statement to CBC News, the province said they will continue funding VON to administer insulin in schools.

'It nags on my mind'

Dean said Bellemey is supposed to have multiple insulin shots a day, in accordance with his blood sugar levels. Normally, she said, he only gets one.

The VON has guidelines from the IWK and from Bellemey's endocrinologist, but no thorough training in diabetic care.

"It nags on my mind. Is he safe at school? Is he going to get the correct dose today? Am I going to hear that he's got extraordinarily high blood sugar in school? Does he know why? It's constantly a daily thing."

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