Life Happens: Make Sure Your Pump Patients Are Prepared!

Physician and Patient

A wise man once said, "confidence comes from being prepared” and, this is exactly how we’d like patients living with diabetes to feel, day to day, while on insulin pump therapy. While 2020 has certainly shown us that issues are bound to happen, the aim is to help prepare patients so they feel confident and competent to handle whatever comes their way. With that said, developing a pump backup plan ahead of time with your patient is key.

During pump training, patients should be encouraged to keep extra supplies on hand; these should include infusion sets, batteries, tape and test strips. The goal is to remain on the pump, whenever it is safe to do so. However, if your patient is unable to use their pump for any reason, they will need to revert to multiple daily injections (MDI). A comprehensive backup plan for MDI should include:

  • Backup supply of short-acting and long-acting insulin (patients should periodically ensure that their backup insulin is in date)
  • Instructions for how much of each insulin the patient should take. This should be based on their individual needs and can help enhance their experience as well as set them up for success despite the situation.
  • A smart pen is a great way to ensure continuity of insulin for the patient, and continuity of data for the provider! The smart insulin pen can be programmed with the patient’s individualized insulin therapy settings and thus becomes a great backup plan. As a reminder, patients will also need prefilled 3 ml cartridges of their specific insulin.
  • Finally, don’t forget pen needles!

Once your patient is able to go back on their pump, it’s important they transfer their most recent basal and bolus settings to their replacement pump. A best practice is to provide these settings to them after each clinic visit – for simplicity, consider providing your patient a copy of the Device Settings Report from the CareLink™ Software. And lastly, as always patients can call 24-Hour Technical Support line for assistance at 1-800-646-4633, option 1.

< Return to Diabetes Digest