Supporting young people with diabetes

Supporting young people with diabetes

Making the transition from child to young adult can be a stressful and daunting experience. For young people living with chronic illnesses, this time in their lives can be particularly difficult to navigate and understand, as they find their independence and learn to manage their illness on their own.IMG-2513.JPG

For young adults aged 16-25 living with diabetes, a transition service at the Mater Queensland Diabetes and Endocrine Clinic offers a safe and welcoming space for people to learn how to manage their diabetes as they move from paediatric to adult care.

Run by Clinical Nurses Trish Bowden and Margaret Vitanza, the Transition Clinic accepts patients from the Queensland Children’s Hospital, other paediatric health services and those who have moved to Brisbane from interstate, rural or remote areas.

“This is a nurse-initiated and led service, where patients can gain a fresh start in their healthcare journey. We spend time getting to know our patients, who they are and what are their health goals,” Trish said.

“We provide a comfortable and supportive environment where young people can learn about their diabetes and how to manage it as their life changes around them. Coming to the clinic should be a positive experience, as we facilitate honest and trusting relationships with our patients.

“It is particularly important we target this age group and help them to manage their condition. As they move out of home, leave school and begin to start drinking, they are less likely to follow their health care plan.” 

Margaret explains the clinic is necessary to support the transition from childhood to early adulthood, and mitigates the risk of patients not managing their diabetes properly.

“Patients can experience what we call 'diabetes distress', where the concept of managing their condition by themselves becomes too overwhelming, and they disengage from their healthcare,” Margaret says.

“In the short term, this can negatively impact their mental health, but long term it can have severe impacts on their condition, leading to hospitalisation and further complications with their diabetes.

“We work with patients to manage stress and anxiety with their illness. Mater has some fantastic resources which we can connect them with, including Thrive, the Mater Young Adult Health Care Centre, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.”

While at the clinic, patients have access to a wide range of specialists and services including pathology, endocrinologists, diabetes nurse educators, dieticians and psychologists. Patients will also receive an annual health review, and can apply for drivers licenses or the insulin stabilisation service (ISS).

To find out more about the Mater Queensland Diabetes and Endocrine Centre (QDEC), you can visit the website here or call  07 3163 2500, or email

Referrals to the centre can be made through a GP. If you would like to discuss a referral, including clinical criteria, or update the status of a current patient please contact our priority GP phone line on 07 3163 2200.

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