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By Melissa Anne Benoit, an endocrinology nurse at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, ON.
This article speaks to diagnosed growth hormone deficiencies. Other conditions treated with growth hormone are not included in this discussion.
Starting treatment with growth hormone (GH) involves frequent injections. One helpful way to incorporate something new into life is to start a routine. Try these easy tips to get started on an injection routine that fits with your family’s schedule!
Children of all ages can participate in the injection routine. If your child is young, however, it is best for you to do the preparation (like cleaning the injection site and loading the medication into the easypod® device) and give the injection itself.
It’s good for children to help as much as they can, within their comfort level. For example, they can gather the equipment, choose the injection site, numb the area with ice, and pinch up the skin (if required). Having your child involved in the injection routine helps share the responsibilities.
Your child can perform self-injection depending on his or her age and level of development and interest although some children and teenagers are not interested in self-injection and prefer that a parent or guardian do it for them. The advantage of the easypod® device is that the medication is delivered with just an easy push of a button and needle insertion and withdrawal are completely hidden. Keep in mind that adult supervision is always required to ensure the dose is actually injected.
Children can get injection fatigue, and it’s normal for parents and other caregivers to feel injection fatigue, too. Consider teaching other family members how to administer growth hormone with easypod®. It is easy to train friends and family. A child’s healthcare team can also help.
Routine is important, but the exact time the dose is given is not critical. Set the injection routine so that the injection always takes place with something else that is done each evening, like dinner or bedtime. If bedtime is at 7 pm on weeknights and 8 pm on weekends, the injection always goes with the activity rather than the clock time. This approach helps set the expectation about what will happen every day, and it helps the family organize and plan, including when the “night off” will be (e.g., if 6 injections per week have been prescribed). Routine builds habit, which can help with adherence down the road.