Print this page

Inpatient Diabetes Education

All patients referred to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health with newly diagnosed diabetes who require insulin are hospitalized for approximately two days. During these two days, they receive a medical evaluation and individual instruction in basic aspects of diabetes management. Parents begin participating in their child's care from the time of diagnosis. Topics discussed during the initial education sessions include basic diabetes skills like blood sugar testing, insulin injections, recognition and treatment of hypoglycemia, meal planning, carbohydrate counting, sick day management and managing diabetes at school.


Children newly diagnosed with diabetes are hospitalized at either:

  • Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health
  • IU Health North Hospital

Our team also provides support services at the following locations to help children manage their diabetes:

  • IU Health Methodist Hospital
  • IU Health University Hospital
  • Wishard Memorial Hospital

Expectations During and After The Inpatient Program

Children who have just been diagnosed with diabetes that requires insulin are hospitalized for initial management and an intensive two-day program for patient and family education. Each child receives a thorough medical evaluation by our multidisciplinary care team. This team includes a physician, nurse educator, dietitian and social worker. Our team works closely with the family to teach the basic skills they need to manage the disease after they leave the hospital. After the child leaves the hospital, the family's nurse practitioner follows up by phone, and then the family begins their visits to our outpatient diabetes clinic every three to four months.

Your Team Dietitian Will:

  • Explain carbohydrate counting and reading food labels.
  • Introduce insulin calculations.
  • Review meal planning (for at home and at the hospital).
  • Discuss fast food, school lunches and homemade recipes.
  • Review the effects of exercise.
  • Discuss snack options.
  • Provide and review practice meal-planning calculations related to carbohydrate intake and insulin needs.

Your Team Nurse Educator Will:

  • Provide educational resources and supplies.
  • Review the basics of diabetes.
  • Teach you/your child how to use a blood glucose meter.
  • Review your child’s insulin regimen and teach how to give insulin.
  • Review low blood sugar management.
  • Review ketone management.
  • Discuss causes of high blood sugar.
  • Explain follow-up phone contact and emergency contact.

Your Team Social Worker Will:

  • Complete a support system assessment.
  • Provide financial information.
  • Discuss adjustments to the new diagnosis (including sibling care).
  • Review diabetes resources available.
  • Explain school information (including the medical management plan and 504 plan). A 504 plan is an agreement between the parents of a child with diabetes and a school that ensures the child has the same access to education as other children.