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PHP 018 March: Promoting self-care at school for students with chronic health needs: The teachers’ perspective

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Children with chronic health needs who have the capacity for self-care have been shown to have higher academic performance and greater social inclusion. However, self-care is rarely practiced as a focal point of health services interventions outside of clinical settings. Furthermore, little is known about how self-care develops through family, health, and educational support networks as a whole and from the point of view of teachers. This study used in-depth, semistructured interviews and a demographic questionnaire to generate teachers’ perspectives on the promotion of self-care in elementary school children with diabetes, and to represent their interactions with key supporters, including health care professionals, members of children’s families, and providers of educational services. Participants were recruited based on having at least one
student with diabetes who received or was receiving care through a health services program designed to facilitate selfcare in the schoolchildren. The teachers were sequentially selected from a Public School District in a midsized city in New Brunswick (Canada; N = 4) and two Boards of Education in a midsized Ontario city (N = 4). Through a thematic analysis, teachers’ perspectives on their promotion of self-care in schoolchildren with diabetes were represented through five main interconnected themes: (a) teachers’ conceptions of self-care, (b) learning about health supports, (c) communication for self-care, (d) building inclusion, and (e) a difficult but manageable endeavor. Study limitations and future research implications are discussed.


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