Insulin pumps are invaluable tools in managing diabetes. Most medical equipment is very reliable and the majority of the time everything works as it should. But what if it suddenly doesn’t?
Have you thought about what you would do if your insulin pump were to fail? It is important to have a plan in place for when and if this occurs. You can create a fail-safe plan for the rare event of a pump failure by following these four steps.
Pump Failure Action Plan
First and foremost, call your pump manufacturer. Your pump’s warranty will cover repairs. The manufacturer may be able to troubleshoot the pump, arrange for repairs, or even a replacement.
Next, call your endocrinologist. He/she can help you create a plan to manage your blood sugars in the interim and what warning signs to watch for.
Keep the following items with you at all times, making sure all are within the prescription limits and not expired:
- long-acting insulin (in case you will be without a pump overnight)
- short-acting insulin (to inject and repeat for bolus and/or correction)
- ketone strips
- a list of 24-hour pharmacies
Also, keep a record of your pump’s settings, as you may need to program a replacement or loaner pump. On this record, include the following:
- Total basal
- Your basal setting, which determines how much insulin you receive each hour
- Insulin to Carbohydrates (I:C) ratio to help with adjusting pre-meal bolus insulin doses
- Insulin Sensitivity Factor (ISF) — the number of points one unit of rapid acting insulin lowers your blood glucose
- Insulin On Board (IOB) – the calculation telling you how much insulin is still in your body from previous bolus doses
The possibility of a pump failure may give you chills, but remember not to panic. With the help of your manufacturer and endocrinologist, you can be well equipped to deal with this unlikely event. Before you know it, you’ll be pumping again.