Help patients prepare to travel this holiday season!

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer and travel! While there may be "parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow,” there are also important things to remind patients using insulin pump therapy to do when they are traveling this holiday season.

It’s fair to say that no one wants additional stress while traveling. To help avoid it, people with diabetes should bring more supplies than they think they’ll need while away from home. This includes packing extra insulin, reservoirs, and infusion sets, along with extra sensors and tape if using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). When in a hurry, it’s easy for people to forget about the transmitter charger and the infusion set inserter. So, make sure to tell your patients, just like Santa would, to “check that (diabetes supplies) list twice!”

Medtronic technical support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays. For that reason, patients should be reminded to call 1.800.646.4633 if they have any questions about their technology. In the event they should need (or want) to temporarily discontinue the use of pump therapy, a pump backup plan is fundamental.

A pump backup plan is a multiple daily injection (MDI) protocol, prescribed by the health care provider (HCP) and includes insulin doses and directions for when temporarily off insulin pump therapy. When on a backup plan, a person with diabetes will take meal and correction insulin doses by using vials and syringes, a standard insulin pen(s), or an innovative smart insulin pen such as the InPen™. While syringes and standard insulin pens will enable the patient to administer their insulin doses, the InPen can offer the patient and their HCPs additional benefits such as access to a dose calculator and Insights Reports. The calculator can help take the guesswork out of determining rapid-acting doses while the Insights Reports can provide HCPs with robust data to help make adjustments to a patient’s insulin regimen.

Another option while traveling is to utilize the Medtronic insulin pump loaner program. This can be particularly helpful if a patient is traveling outside the country or will be somewhere that may make it difficult for packages to be delivered to (for example, a cruise). Through this program, a patient can temporarily have an additional (identical model) insulin pump on hand as a backup device to use if the need should arise. This can provide peace of mind. To learn more about the Medtronic insulin pump loaner program, please click here.

Travel typically includes airport security, which can feel stressful for many people with diabetes. Here are some tips from Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials to make travel more fun and less of a hassle this holiday season!

  • Give additional time at the airport for security to avoid feeling rushed and pressured.
  • TSA does not prohibit people with diabetes technology from walking through the full body scanner/advanced imaging technology (AIT). It is up to the person with diabetes to avoid the full body scanner/AIT in order to protect their pump and CGM from damage. TSA suggested messaging is “I am wearing a connected insulin pump and glucose monitor. I cannot go through the full body scanner. I would like a pat-down.”  The insulin pump can be taken off and hand-checked.
  • If receiving a pat-down, make sure to say where the devices are located (both pump and CGM). If a TSA officer finds devices not disclosed, the officer must perform additional screening. Click here for more information: AskTSA: What to expect during pat-down screening | Transportation Security Administration
  • A person may want to carry a medical notification card; however, this is not a requirement.
  • Avoid putting the pump through the airport x-ray belt (where shoes, belts, laptops and purses are screened).
  • Strongly consider TSA pre-check to save time, reduce hassle and make the traveling process smoother!

We hope you find these tips helpful to share with your patients. Happy Holidays from your Medtronic Diabetes team!