Pump It Up!
"The rising incidence of Type 1 diabetes in children underlines the importance of the Commonwealth Government's decision to subsidise the cost of insulin pumps.
According to a recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the incidence of new cases of Type 1 diabetes in children is rising at around 3 percent a year. There were more than 6,000 new cases in children aged 0–14 years between 2000 and 2006, which equates to more than two new cases each day.
In the 2008-09 Budget, the Government announced that it would subsidise the cost of insulin pumps for young people with type 1 diabetes from 1 November 2008. The Government will provide a means-tested subsidy of up to $2,500 for people with type 1 diabetes under the age of 18. This targeted subsidy of between $500 and $2,500, based on gross family income, will help nearly 700 children and young people.
The Government subsidy will make insulin pumps more affordable for working families and help parents care for children with this chronic disease.
The insulin pump subsidy will complement other Government measures assisting people with diabetes. Government funding committed to support people with diabetes is substantial. Last financial year, Government expenditure on diabetic products supplied through the National Diabetes Services Scheme exceeded $126 million and expenditure on medicines for diabetes through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, such as insulin, exceeded $300 million." Department of Health and Ageing.
So what is an Insulin Pump?
An insulin pump is a small computerised device that delivers insulin constantly. It is about the size of a deck of cards that can be worn on a belt or kept in a pocket. An insulin pump connects to narrow, flexible plastic tubing that ends with a needle inserted just under the skin. Users set the pump to give a steady trickle or basel amount of insulin continuously throughout the day. Pumps release bolus doses of insulin (several units at a time) at meals and at times when blood glucose is too high, based on programming done by the user.
What are the benefits of using an Insulin Pump?
- Insulin Pumps reduce the need for parental supervision in looking after a child with type 1 diabetes. They allow the child to participate in normal activities like school, sport and social functions with less constant monitoring
- Insulin pump therapy significantly reduces severe hypoglycaemic episodes and provides major improvements in the control of blood glucose. Insulin pump therapy also has the potential to reduce the long term risk of retinal eye disease
- Being computerised, the data that is stored on them can be downloaded to your computer for analysis. This information can be emailed to your doctor or other diabetic professionals
- These devices usually have built-in alarms that alert you to high or low blood glucose levels, missed doses or other problems
- Better control of insulin doseage has been shown to reduce the impact of diabetes on damage to your eyes, kidneys, nerves and cardiovascular system
- A pump allows you the freedom not to have to carry injection paraphernalia around with you
- Insulin can be dispensed at the press of a button
- Pumps are discreet and can be worn beneath your clothing or around your neck
- An insulin pump gives you the flexbility to change your doses as required, quickly and easily. This can apply to the changing activities and eating patterns during the day that would normally require complicated adjustments.
- Compared with multiple daily injections, an insulin pump acts more like a healthy pancreas
- They can be removed for periods of up to 2 hours so you can swim, play sport .... or participate in any other activities.
What are the disadvantages of using an Insulin Pump?
Depending on the amount of insulin that your pump holds, you will need to plan ahead to refill your pump. This also involves replacing the external tubing and cannula attachment each time, so you need to make sure these are readily accessible.
Sometimes things go wrong. A small air bubble interrupting the insulin flow, you leave it disconnected too long, batteries run flat! You need to be prepared for all emergencies
- Like any new device, you need to take time to learn how to use your insulin pump. It usually takes a few days at either a hospital in-patient or visitor to a diabetes education centre to learn how to fit the device and manage it.
- You need to consider the ease of use of your insulin pump. If you are not very comfortable with computers, don't choose one that is too complicated to work.
- Pumps can be quite expensive, costing up to $8,000. This cost can be reduced by looking at the different rebates, etc that can be claimed.
- It is worth writing a list of the features that you would like in your insulin pump and then shop around and compare the costs to the features to find the best pump for you.
What types of Insulin Pumps are available?
|Accu-Chek Spirit||$5,000||81 x 55 x 20
|315 units||0.005 (max
|0.1, 02., 0.5,
1 or 2 units
|1 x AA,
|Animas 2020||$7,750||75 x 50 x 19
|200 units||0.025 units||0.05, 0.1 or
|1 x AA
|Dana Diabecaire IIS||$4,000||75 x 45 x 19
|300 units||0.01 or
|0.1, 0.5 or
|Deltec Cozmo||$7,950||81 x 46 x 24||300 units||0.05 units||0.05, 0.1, 0.5
1,2 or 5 units
|1 x AAA
|$8,000||76.2 x 50.8 x 20.3
||0.05||0.1, 0.5 or
|1 x AAA
|$8,000||91.4 x 50.8 x 20.3
|176 units||0.05||0.1, 0.5 or
1 x AAA
Accu-Chek Spirit - Roche - 1800 251 816 - www.accu-chek.com.au
Anias 2020 - Animas Coporation - 1300 851 056 - www.amsl.com.au
Dana Diabecare IIS - Diabetes Australia - 1300 136 588 - www.diabetesnsw.com.au
Deltec Cozmo - Medical Specialties - (02) 9417-7955 - www.msa.com.au
Minimed Paradigm 522 or 722 - Medtronic - 1800 668 670 - www.medtronic-diabetes.com.au
For advice on insulin pumps talk to your doctor, diebetic professional or your friendly pharmacy staff