Taking the first step in your child’s care journey

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Choosing Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota to care for your child’s diabetes or endocrine disorder is a big step. Of course, there will be many more steps to come as your child progresses from diagnosis to initial treatment to long-term care of the disease. But our expert team will be there to guide you.

Whether we meet for the first time in the hospital or at the McNeely Pediatric Diabetes Center and Endocrine Clinic at Children’s, we’ll start giving your family the facts and support you need from day one. Below are a few key things to know when preparing for a visit with one of our specialists.

The first time we meet

Many of our patients have diabetes, but we also care for children and teens with a wide range of other endocrine disorders. The starting point for your family’s care journey will vary depending on your child’s specific needs.

  • Children and teens recently diagnosed with diabetes often start off with a short hospital stay at Children’s – St Paul. During this stay, you and your child will learn basic skills for managing diabetes. You’ll also meet several members of your child’s care team.
  • Those with established diabetes or another endocrine disorder are often referred to us by their primary care doctors. They may begin with a clinic visit to the McNeely Pediatric Diabetes Center, which has three locations.

Find the clinic location nearest you by visiting our locations page.

Planning for a hospital stay

If your child has just been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor may recommend a two-day hospital stay. It’s important for all primary caregivers — such as parents, grandparents and day care providers — to be present for meals and teaching sessions. These sessions usually begin at 9:30 a.m.

At the hospital, you and your child will learn about checking blood glucose, giving insulin injections, testing urine ketones and planning meals. Read more about what to expect at the hospital in our diabetes care manual.

Preparing for a clinic visit

If your child’s care journey starts at one of our outpatient clinics, knowing what to expect helps make the first visit less stressful. Before the visit, talk about it with your child. Show your child a photo of the doctor from our directory. With younger kids, it may also help to draw pictures (stick figures work just fine!). Or act out the upcoming visit with a stuffed animal as the patient.

To help us complete initial paperwork and concentrate on your child’s care, it’s best to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. That way, we can zip through the registration and insurance process (remember to bring your insurance card and co-pay) and concentrate on what’s most important to us — talking with you and taking great care of your child.

If your child is scheduled for endocrine testing, an IV will be inserted into a vein to give medicine and then draw several blood samples. To reduce discomfort, anesthetic cream may be used to numb the skin. Because the cream takes time to work, you may be asked to apply it at home beforehand. When you come for the test, bring a comfort item for your child — for example, a blanket or stuffed animal for a young child, or music or a favorite video for an older one.

We’re there for you every step of the way

After the initial meeting, many children keep coming to us for their ongoing care. If that’s the case for your child, we’ll partner with you to make the next steps in the care journey as stress-free as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to let us know. And if any questions come up between visits, we’re just a phone call away.


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