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Being Prepared With A Diabetes Management Back-Up Plan

Being Prepared with a Diabetes Management Back-Up Plan | The LOOP Blog

As a kid, you might have loved going to the circus to watch acrobats fly through the air, grabbing each other’s arms and legs as they swung from one trapeze to the other. You might have thought, “I can do that!” However, when they took away the safety net below, oh how quickly our minds changed!

When someone talks about having a back-up plan, the first words that might come to mind is “safety net.” It’s always good to be prepared for every type of scenario. And when it comes to being prepared, I often think of the 24-Hour HelpLine Team and the tips that they give our customers 24/7. So to learn more about this topic I wanted to reach out to my friend on the 24-Hour HelpLine to learn more about what their “safety net tips” might include. Here’s what they had to say!

As one customer put it on a recent phone call, “having a back-up plan protect us from being in a sticky situation gives you peace of mind just in case something goes wrong.” So think about this scenario for a second… It’s summer, you get invited to a barbeque, and you’re wearing your insulin pump, having a good time? and SPLASH! Just like that, someone pushes you into the pool and your pump stops working. Now let’s say this barbeque is in another country. Oh yeah, and the nearest hospital is 50 miles away. Now what?!

My intention here is not to scare you, but instead, prepare you. Do you have a back-up plan of manual injections? Do you have short and long acting insulin, or an up to date prescription for these from your healthcare team? If so, do you know how much insulin to take? Do you have your doctor’s phone number and your insurance card on hand? Did you bring enough supplies and syringes? Once you get your replacement pump, do you have your specific settings handy to program in the pump?

Now that I’m done sounding like an over-protective parent, here is a list of things that our 24-Hour HelpLine recommends that you do to prepare for just about any scenario:

1. Most importantly, develop a back-up plan ahead of time with your doctor as they can give you the best advice to meet your individual needs. Ask them what type of insulin you should always keep handy in your fridge, and the daily amount of insulin they would recommend if you weren’t wearing your pump. Then make sure that they work with your pharmacy to have items like glucagon with a prescription that remains up to date.

2. Once you have an accessible back-up plan, make the effort to keep these diabetes management items stocked up. This means to have a supply of insulin syringes or pens, extra syringes, as well as short and long acting insulin. This becomes especially critical if you run into any problems during a long flight or are on vacation far away from home. Remember, you might not even need to use these…but it’s best to be prepared!

3. Always carry extra pump supplies and include back-up supplies such as infusion sets, batteries, tape, and test strips in different locations that you can access at different times (such as at the office or in your car).

4. Always have your device settings handy. If something were to go wrong, you want to make sure to have your most up to date settings available (most people can’t remember all of the pump settings already set up for you, from bolus ratios to insulin sensitivity settings).

So as you think of all the devices you carry on your body or in your purse or man-purse, think of this, will you be prepared for any situation? Maybe now is a good time to back up that smart phone while you’re at it. Oh, and for that person who pushed you in the pool, we’re no longer talking to him.


– Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
– Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.

Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps

– Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
– Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems

– The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.
– Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.

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