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Showing Support to Diabetic Patients at University Hospitals

In the best of circumstances, children with type 1 diabetes face formidable obstacles to maintaining their health. COVID-19 has only exacerbated these challenges, especially for underserved children.

Fortunately, the UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s diabetes team recently received two special gifts to increase our capacity to support young diabetic patients during the pandemic and in its aftermath.

The Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust granted the hospital $40,000 to safeguard the continued high quality patient care for which UH Rainbow is nationally known. Funds from the grant are being used to acquire necessary equipment for telehealth visits between UH Rainbow medical staff and patients and their families. Items purchased include cables for downloading devices and cell phones to ensure patients have access to Glooko/Tidepool, streamlined database services that monitor individual patients’ food, activity and medication. The applications provide blood sugar level feedback to patients and UH Rainbow health care providers, who together coordinate and manage the patient’s condition. Funds are also supporting the establishment of data downloading stations at a variety of UH satellite clinics. Videos are being created so that new onset, insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring education is available online, allowing families to care for loved ones at home.

For young patients who have lost their medical coverage due to family employment layoffs, the Helmsley Trust funds are also available to help cover costs of insulin, diabetes supplies, sensors and transmitters.

Simultaneously, Insulin for Life USA, a nonprofit whose mission is to collect unused diabetes supplies in the United States and deliver them to people in need worldwide, donated $25,000 worth of much needed supplies to UH Rainbow. According to Insulin for Life USA representatives Carol Atkinson and Sabrina Thalman, “We are humbled to play a small role in supporting health care provider teams as they strive to meet the growing challenges people with diabetes are facing as a result of the COVID pandemic. Our goal is to help people with diabetes retain the tools and management devices to treat their diabetes without disruption.”

Since its humble beginnings more than 130 years ago, UH Rainbow’s ability to provide for the most vulnerable in our society has depended on significant community philanthropy. The recent collective efforts of Insulin for Life USA and the Helmsley Charitable Trust provide another fine example that, in times of need, there are always those who rise to the occasion to provide relief to children in crisis.

University Hospitals is grateful to all individuals and organizations willing to help our caregivers, patients and community during the COVID-19 crisis. Community response and caregiver support funds have been established to support the extensive patient care, medical supplies, research and education needs. 

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