What is an insulin pump?
An insulin pump is a small battery-operated electronic device that holds a reservoir of insulin. It is about the size of a mobile phone and is worn 24 hours a day. The pump is programmed to deliver insulin into the body through thin plastic tubing known as the infusion set or giving set. The pump is worn outside the body, in a pouch or on your belt. The infusion set has a fine needle or flexible cannula that is inserted just below the skin where it stays in place for two to three days.
Only fast acting insulin is used in the pump. Whenever food is eaten the pump is programmed to deliver a surge of insulin into the body similar to the way the pancreas does in people without diabetes. Between meals a small and steady rate of insulin is delivered.
The insulin pump is not suitable for everyone. If you’re considering using one, you must discuss it first with your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator.
How does it help me manage my diabetes?
Research has shown that insulin pump therapy can reduce the frequency of severe hypoglycaemia as well as improve quality of life. Using a pump may also improve suboptimal blood glucose control.
It is important that you have realistic expectations about pump therapy. It is not a cure for people who require insulin to manage their diabetes but a way of delivering insulin that may offer increased flexibility, improved glucose levels and improved quality of life.
Pump therapy requires motivation, regular blood glucose checking, the ability to learn pump technology and the willingness to keep in regular contact with your diabetes educator or endocrinologist for review and adjustment of pump rates.
Resources - Blog post- What I've Learned From 12 Years Pumping
What insulin pumps are available to me?
You can see available insulin pumps in this resource – Understanding Insulin Pumps
The Type 1 Diabetes Insulin Pump Program is an Australian Government Program designed to provide subsidies for insulin pumps for people under 18 years of age. Subject to available funding, the Program is available to anyone who is Medicare eligible, carers for a child living with type 1 diabetes, who does not have access to Private Health Insurance and is under 18 at the time of application.
The subsidies are means tested (family income range of $75,665 - $101,957 pa) and range from 10 per cent of the cost of the insulin pump (or $500, whichever is greater) to 80 per cent of the cost of the Insulin Pump (capped at $6,400). More information here.
As of 1 July 2017, the following pumps are available under the Insulin Pump Program:
For more information on eligibility for the insulin pump subsidy, or to apply for the subsidy, go to JDRF website or call (02) 9966 0400.
If you are not eligible for the Type 1 Diabetes Insulin Pump Program, Private Health Insurance is also available to cover the cost of your pump. Assuming the correct waiting period has been completed, you should be eligible for full reimbursement.
Information on NDSS Pump Consumables are available on the NDSS Website