Mate 4 you
Mates project for children with diabetes
Children suffering from diabetes mellitus lead a tough life: multiple pricks a day for blood sugar testing, a number of painful insulin injections each day, monitoring the amount of exercise, sticking to a diet. And that is not all. No matter how dedicated in their efforts, blood sugar levels can still be unsettled. Add to this a continuous fear for hypoglycemia (blood sugar levels that are too low, combined with a sudden loss of consciousness) and you will start to understand how difficult it is to lead a normal life. And the same applies to the parents. Many families are therefore struggling to do just that. Children are given too much responsibility and insufficient emotional support. Too much is expected from them. In principle, they can handle it, but they often lack motivation. This unsettles the diabetes, making it impossible or difficult to control, with all due consequences for the child.
Involvement creates a positive effect
In order to change this pattern, Doctors for Children has set up the Mate4You project in a number of cities in the Netherlands. Children with lots of day-to-day problems or (unsettled) diabetes that is difficult to control are appointed a personal counsellor. This personal counsellor is linked to the child for a period of twelve to eighteen months and provides personal attention, support and motivation. This involves weekly contacts of at least half a day. By improving motivation, children are in a better position to be treated by the diabetes teams. Improved control of the diabetes can be measured by a simple laboratory test. Improved self-reliance and the stronger support base provided by the family are often evident from the discussions.
Where is Mate4You located?
In the region of The Hague, Mate4you is organised by Juliana Kinderziekenhuis (paediatric hospital) and Stichting Vitalis. Children with other chronic illnesses can also join. In Rotterdam, Mate4You is organised by the Big Brother Big Sister organisation. This is open to children who, for whatever reason, can do with some extra attention and support, including children suffering from diabetes. In the north of the Netherlands, children can sign up at Stichting Humanitas in Groningen. In Nijmegen, there is a long-standing partnership with NIM.