Mount Desert Island Hospital’s Diabetes Education Department now has two Registered Nurses who are Certified Product Trainers for insulin pumps from Medtronic. Their certification makes MDI Hospital the only facility in Downeast Maine to offer this alternative to insulin injection therapy.
Sherri Hall, RN, CDE, and Linda Beaudoin, RN, have been working with diabetes patients, to better manage their blood glucose numbers. With insulin pump therapy, a small amount of rapid-acting insulin is delivered continuously throughout the day and night. Additional insulin can be delivered to cover glucose from a meal or to correct a high blood glucose reading.
“I’ll tell you, it was the best thing I’ve ever done,” said Tina Smith of Franklin. “Now I can control my blood sugar and, when I’m starting to have a low blood sugar attack or I start to feel funny, I can check my sugar. Every five minutes, it gives me the most current number.”
In addition to the pump, Smith also uses the iPro 2 continuous glucose monitor to provide instant glucose levels at any time. At first, she said, she was nervous about the two devices, the pump and a separate "personal sensor" that beams the blood glucose results to the pump. Worn discreetly on her person, she thought they would be uncomfortable.
Instead, she found that the ability to check her sugars continuously, and to adjust her insulin if necessary, gave her great peace of mind. Data from the monitor also streams to her health care providers, who can analyze it for problems.
“For a long time, I was having trouble with my sugar spiking in the middle of the night,” she said. “They were able to tweak the levels. And now that my levels are better, I feel better and I sleep so much better.”
MDI Hospital’s recent staff training and certification in the use of these devices means the area’s patients no longer have to travel to Bangor, said Linda Beaudoin, RN, MDI Hospital’s diabetes education coordinator. Diabetes specialists provide training and follow-up for patients, who aim for a better quality of life and better control of their blood sugar.
“We showed them the pump would be easier,” Beaudoin said. “They just need to know how to fill up the syringe with insulin and pop it into the pump.”
The small pump – made by Medtronic, specialists in technology for the treatment of diabetes – is worn externally and can be discreetly clipped to a belt, slipped into a pocket, or hidden under clothes. It delivers precise doses of rapid-acting insulin. The device consists of a cartridge connected to a reservoir that can hold enough insulin to last for two to three days.
For Smith the pump has freed her from much of her fear of diabetes. “I feel confident with controlling it,” she said. “Before, just by doing the injections, I didn’t feel like it was making a difference. The pump, for me, makes a difference, because I get the see the results quickly.”
That sense of control has even allowed her to pursue new activities. She recently joined the fire department, doing support and photography.
“I don’t feel like diabetes is hanging over my head anymore,” she said. “I feel sort of like I’m walking hand in hand with it now. I have more understanding.”
MDI Hospital Diabetes Specialists work with the patients’ providers to help identify potential positive changes to meal planning, exercise, medications, stress and lifestyle, ultimately leading to lowering their blood glucose numbers and decreasing chronic risk factors associated with Diabetes.
To assist in that goal, MDI Hospital purchased two iPro 2 continuous glucose monitors. The current standard of care is to wear the iPro 2 twice yearly, which is covered by most insurance in full or with little out of pocket expense to the patient.
If you are interested in learning more about the insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors or other services related to managing diabetes, please contact Linda Beaudoin or Sherri Hall Monday-Friday at 801-5043.