Diabetes clinics give you the chance to meet medical experts who can check that you’re well and give you highly specialised advice on how to control your diabetes – here’s how they work
Why do I need to go?
If so much of your diabetes care is up to you, why go to a diabetes clinic? One reason is to help you understand new things. Clinic staff have years of experience specialising in helping people with diabetes. It’s the kind of expertise you’re unlikely to find in a GP or practice nurse who deals in general healthcare. Clinic staff check out your diabetes control, help you with any difficulties, and pre-empt any possible future health problems.
You know what your blood test results are every day, but if you’ve had a really bad patch, it's hard to get things in perspective. Clinic staff will show you how well you are doing over a longer period.
How often do I go?
- After your first visit, you’ll probably go back on a regular basis – usually monthly, then every four to six months.
- Every year you’ll have a big checkup to look you over completely.
- Every time you go, clinic staff should also give you the results of any tests and explain them to you. These results will help you with your diabetes control. If you’re not given the results, or don’t understand them, ask – and keep asking if needs be.
Going it alone
Depending on your age, you’ll probably go to the clinic with a parent or guardian. But there might be parts of your clinic visit that you want them to come to, and other parts when you want to be alone. Some clinics even have a cut-off age when they want to start seeing you on your own. Whichever way you do it, the important thing is to get all your questions answered.
Moving on up
When you move on to an ‘adult’ clinic (if you are not at one already), this can be quite different from a ‘child’ or ‘adolescent’ clinic. You should be offered a clinic where the children and adult teams work together and monitor your diabetes.
For more in depth information - see the Transition to adult clinics section.
Common clinic complaints
"I don't want to go"
Some people are ‘clinic cynics’. This is because they may feel self-conscious or not want to face up to certain issues. But it’s better to turn up anyway than not go. People often come away from these clinics surprised at how much they’ve learnt and at how much hassle they’ve saved themselves in the long term by having a problem or two solved.
"I can't be bothered to keep my diary"
Some people do feel tempted to make up their log book entries so that it looks like they have better control than they really do. But if you don’t keep accurate records your healthcare team might not pick up on simple problems they could help with now, to prevent something worse happening in the long term.
See what others have said about changing their log book entries.
For clinic appointments
Make sure you know what should be covered before, during and after each visit.
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