Remote pump starts to help people with diabetes during lockdown
Roche Diabetes Care Trainers, looking for new ways to work with people with diabetes under current circumstances, have made a transition to using video conferencing tools to remotely help those who are beginning pump therapy.
Trainers in this role usually show patients and healthcare professionals how to use diabetes pumps and devices in a face to face setting, however, during lockdown, this usual route has proven difficult.
Remote sessions help patients to avoid a healthcare setting whilst receiving the same level of care and education that they need, in a safe environment. Dr Claire Marriott, Medical Affairs Lead at Roche Diabetes Care
Over 10,300 people with type one diabetes in the UK use an insulin pump, which is a battery-operated device that provides the body with regular insulin throughout the day.
Christian Sharp, who has worked at Roche Diabetes Care for sixteen years, is a former diabetes nurse specialist and lives with type one diabetes himself. Early on in lockdown he was approached by a paediatric diabetes team to conduct a pump start remotely, to help one-year old Martha who has type one diabetes, something he or the team had never done before.
Christian said: “When people with diabetes begin pump therapy I usually work, alongside a diabetes nurse, to make sure the patient fully understands how to use the device. A remote pump start was new to me but with the diabetes nurse, we conducted some trial runs before the sessions started to make sure they ran smoothly. The remote sessions included a demonstration of attaching the pump, and inserting, removing and changing cannulas.”
Evening sessions were chosen for the pump start, another first for Christian who usually works during office hours, as it allowed the parents to concentrate on the education, while Martha slept. The session was a success and Martha is now getting on well with the pump. In the weeks that followed, Christian went on to conduct over twenty successful remote pump starts with pediatric patients.
Meanwhile, Roche’s Diabetes Care Trainer Helen Nicholls who is also a former diabetes nurse specialist, has recently helped six people with diabetes with successful remote pump starts, including a teenager. Helen said: “Prior to this pandemic, a virtual call with a patient was nonexistent so we’re all being prompted to work in new ways. The recent launch of our YouTube channel made the process easier as I had lots of video material to share beforehand.”
Following the success of these initial virtual training sessions, Roche Diabetes Care Training Specialists are now able to offer virtual support for new and existing users of Accu-Chek insulin delivery systems.
Dr Claire Marriott, Medical Affairs Lead at Roche Diabetes Care added: “We are delighted that we can continue to help people with diabetes who are appropriate for an insulin pump to manage their diabetes, despite current restrictions. Remote sessions help patients to avoid a healthcare setting whilst receiving the same level of care and education that they need, in a safe environment.”
Ensuring informed patient choice when deciding upon which insulin pump to use is very important and, as such, Roche is supporting initiatives from the Diabetes Technology Network (DTN) and others to launch virtual Patient Choice Events at a national and local level. With the availability of these virtual events, coupled with these remote training sessions from Roche and other providers, it is hoped that people with diabetes coming up for a renewal or starting on a pump for the first time will be able to do so without delay.