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What do I need to know to use an insulin pump?

The user must know how to count carbohydrates accurately and consistently, how to operate the pump and insert the infusion set. It is extremely helpful to have at least one adult who helps the pediatric pump user care for it.

Those wishing to use an insulin pump for intensive therapy are entered into a comprehensive education program to completely prepare them and their families for successful insulin pump use.

What are the advantages of pump therapy?

Insulin pump therapy delivers a small amount of short-acting insulin all the time, just like a working pancreas. Pump users are able to program insulin boluses to their meal times. Meals and snacks are eaten when the pump user is hungry; meals can be skipped as desired. Finally, insulin pump therapy is a convenient method of intensive insulin therapy, which helps improve blood glucose control.

What happens if the pump is dropped?

Manufacturers have designed pumps to withstand the normal wear and tear of daily use. If the pump is dropped, the user should visually inspect the pump, infusion set and insertion site and monitor blood sugars for any unusual results. Pump manufacturers also recommend self-test protocols and have 24-hour customer service available.

How can I tell if the pump is functioning?

Pump manufacturers have built in safety features, including visual and auditory alarms, which alert the wearer. Examples of alarms include low battery, low insulin reservoir, and plugged infusion set or tubing. Protocols also exist for self tests to determine appropriate pump function.

What should I do if my pump breaks?

Pump companies have 24-hour customer service systems in place to help the user determine if the pump needs to be returned for repair or replacement. If the pump needs to be returned, many pump manufacturers will send a temporary replacement pump within 24 hours.

All pump users should contact the endocrinologist on call to help with intermittent bolus therapy for the short time they are without a pump.

Can I feel the infusion set?

The infusion set should be very comfortable when it is in place. Flexible tubing and cannula allow for exercise, sports participation and continuous insulin delivery with complete ease.

Where do I put the infusion set?

The infusion set is inserted underneath the skin, in the subcutaneous tissue, in the abdomen, thigh or arm. The infusion set should not be inserted into bony areas or areas where clothing would rub or irritate the insertion site.

What do I do if I forget my settings?

Pump users may access their settings by calling 24-hour customer service lines and simply giving the customer service representative the pump serial number.

Will insurance cover my pump and pump supplies?

Insulin pump manufacturers have pump service specialists who routinely help determine insurance coverage. Families are able to work with the pump company and the endocrinology service to determine medical necessity and probable costs of therapy for the family.