Diabetes Lab eTraining Slide 11

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An insulin pump delivers one type of insulin and looks like a pager that can be attached to a belt, carried in a pocket, or held with a strap around the arm or thigh.

The pump connects to narrow plastic tubing that ends with a short plastic catheter inserted just under the skin in the abdomen, buttocks, or thigh.

Users set the pump to give a steady trickle or “basal” amount of insulin continuously throughout the day and “bolus” doses at meals and at times when blood glucose is too high based on the user’s programming.

The disposable patch pump or “pod” adheres directly to the skin, without using additional tubing and is controlled by a separate PDM device. In the pod-type pumps does not use needles. It delivers insulin through the skin by high-pressure air jets.

Newer models can assist with dosage calculations and have reminder wizards to assist with calculating insulin bolus dosage based on carbohydrate intake and blood glucose level or to remind users about active insulin while dosing. The user still has to enter information about carbohydrate intake and blood glucose level, in order for the pump to determine and deliver the correct dose,

The pump delivers insulin in micro-drops that are continuous and accurate. The level of activity directly affects how quickly insulin goes into the bloodstream. When sitting at a desk, it will go into a student’s system more slowly. If the student goes for a walk or a run, it will go into her system much more quickly.

The following supplies should be provided by the parent/guardian and kept in a designated place at school:

  • Infusion set
  • Reservoir
  • Insulin
  • Skin prep items
  • Alcohol wipes to clean top of insulin vial
  • Syringe -  All students should have a syringe at school in in case of pump malfunction. 
  • Pump batteries
  • Inserter (if used)
  • Manufacturers manual, alarm card

In cases where the pump is  disconnected (for example in PE) it should be placed in a secure place as designated in the student’s Health Emergency Plan.

Be aware of the signs and symptoms that a infusion site may need to be changed or pump is not working properly.



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