Nova Scotia

VON to help 5-year-old with injections at school as N.S. reviews care for diabetic students

A Halifax mother says she's thrilled that a nurse will visit her son's school to check his insulin levels, so she no longer has to go herself.

Carrie Dean has been going to the school every day to make sure her son's levels are okay

Carrie Dean's five-year-old son, Bellemy, was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. (Brooklyn Currie/CBC)

Every weekday for the past month, Carrie Dean has been watching the clock, making sure she gets to her son's school at the right time.

Dean's five-year old-son Bellemey was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes late last year. Dean told CBC News in March she was shocked to learn staff at her son's school would not be allowed to administer his insulin at lunch. Instead, she's been going to his school every day to make sure Bellemey's levels were okay.

But now, Dean says the family is finally getting help. She's been told a nurse from the Victorian Order of Nurses, or VON, will visit the school daily to give Bellemey his injections.

"I was completely surprised," she said. "We're expecting by the end of the week, early next week, that they'll be taking over for me."

Dean says since her story was first published, she's heard from other parents facing the same challenge to make sure their children's insulin levels are steady through the day.

"I have heard from several families – a lot actually – it hits your heart hearing all the different stories and the struggles throughout the province."

At five years old, and new to his diagnosis, Bellemey DesRoche isn't comfortable using his insulin pen on himself. (Brooklyn Currie/CBC)

For Dean, the help of a nurse is a huge relief.

"Now I don't have to put my day on hold, I can finally do what I need to do, when I need to do it, and not have to worry about 'Oh what time is it? Do I have to run to the school?'"

She says it will also improve Bellemey's education.

"He should be able to focus more. He won't have to worry about going high, going low, not getting his insulin."

Dean has been told staff will be trained over the summer to help next year.

In a statement, the Nova Scotia Department of Education reiterated its earlier message that new guidelines for care of diabetic students are in the works, but offered no details of what that might mean for the schools.

It says the Diabetes Care Program of NS, the IWK and Nova Scotia Health are among the organizations taking part in those discussions.

While the VON arrangement will have a huge impact on Dean's life, she says her son had a simpler reaction to the news that a nurse will come to school to see him everyday.

"The only thing he has to say is "Oh! Do you know her name?'"