Did you know there is now a National Infusion Site Awareness Week? It's all part of a new awareness campaign brought to us by Roche Diabetes, coming up from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5. Publicity stunt by a pump manufacturer? Perhaps. But as anyone who pokes themselves regularly with needles full of insulin knows, infusion site management is an important and oft-overlooked challenge of life with diabetes.
In a recent press release, Roche shared that they're partnering with the American Association of Diabetes Educators to promote the importance of infusion site management, which includes the practice of choosing a site, cleaning and preparing it, proper insertion, monitoring insulin flow and regularly rotating insertion sites to avoid infection.
I remember how black and blue I was when I was still on shots — and that was even using the tiny 31-gauge needles on a NovoPen Junior. Those of us with insulin pumps know how awesome they can be. But we also know how unfun it can be when something goes wrong, like when you discover that scar tissue is keeping the insulin from getting in you, or when you develop a nasty infection at your latest infusion site!
Roche created this week to bring awareness about the complications that can result from "poor site management, like those painful infections, poor insulin delivery and absorption and even long-term skin damage." According to a 2007 study in the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes Care, adults with diabetes using an insulin pump can experience up to a dozen issues related to their insulin pump sites every year. Roche will be distributing kits on insulin pump site management to CDEs around the country.
Roche is best known for their ACCU-Chek family of glucose meters, but is also in the insulin pump game, of course, having taken over the now-defunct Disetronic brand of insulin pumps some years ago and launching their own version, the ACCU-Chek Spirit. At the recent AADE conference in San Antonio, Roche had a booth set up specifically to promote their "site management" campaign and encourage CDEs to get on board.
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"Roche Diabetes Care is sponsoring the first National Infusion Site Awareness Week to raise awareness of the unique challenges faced by users of insulin infusion pumps," states Luc Vierstraete, senior vice president and general manager, Roche Diabetes Care North America, in the company's materials. "Proper infusion site management ensures better blood glucose management as well as fewer complications. This correlation between site management and better health outcomes is why increased education is critical to foster better diabetes management."
For longtime pumpers, the information at the campaign website (complete with soothing Musak) may seem pretty obvious, but if you're a new pumper or considering starting out, this website shares some useful knowledge that most of us veteran pumpers wish we knew sooner.
Also, for some additional "food for thought" during this awareness week, see the "Pre-Site Injection Locator" idea, an entry in the 2009 DiabetesMine Design Challenge:
Viva la patient-led innovation, no?