Using the pump at school


Who helps you or your child operate his pump at school?  Do teachers or staff typically help out?  My daughter is 9 and her doctor thinks she will be able to operate the pump independently at school.  We are in Germany (my daughter was diagnosed here) and I just think it could be difficult for her to operate herself as well as thinking about exactly how much insulin she should get.  She was diagnosed in July 2007, and I do a lot of the thinking for her.  Our education was no doubt quite a lot less than kids in the States, consisting of about 7 one hour meetings with a German dietician in 2007, and a two hour class at a U.S. hospital in 2008.  Now her German is good enough that she is taking a kids' class at the hospital here in Germany.  As we weigh the pros and cons of the pump vs. needles, I am also trying to figure out how we will accomplish this on a daily basis.  Currently, I go to the school everyday and give her a shot at lunch.  She tests herself in the morning and afternoon for snacks.  Her international school does not have a nurse.  Thanks for your feedback.

I would suggest getting a pump that would require the least amount of "mathematics" when it comes to giving the insulin.

The basal rate will be calculated and set by your doctor (or the diabetic educator). Once it's set, the only thing your daughter will have to "adjust" are the bolus rates (the insulin she takes when she eats or needs to correct a high BG reading).

If you get the MiniMed, your daughter will have to do a lot of the calculations herself. I would suggest either the Animas pump or the Cozmore pump. Both of these pumps have built in "food menus". You select the foods you're eating and the pump adds up the carbs and delivers the proper dosage of insulin (the "insulin to carn ratio" is also determined by the doctor or diabetes educator and is programmed into the pump). I'm not sure about the Animas, but the Cozmore will also warn you if you may be getting too much insulin (because you already have insulin "on board"). It will also suggest how many carbs to consume if you get a low BG reading.

I used the MiniMed for years and have nothing but good things to say about it. But my "calculations" weren't always accurate (remembering how many carbs are in all the different foods I eat isn't easy), so my blood sugars weren't as good as they could have been. I recently switched to the Cozmore and, because of the built in food list (which is editable), my blood sugars have been MUCH better.

Again, whether your daughter can "handle" the pump or not is something only you can decide. Know that with any pump, you AND your daughter will get pretty extensive training. The trainers won't let you use the pump until you're comfortable with it.

My daughter is 7 years old and the nurse at her school takes care of her for lunch time bolus and whenever she is not feeling well.  In the US most of the schools have nurses.  If they don't or even if they do you can get a medical aide or a nurse just for your diabetic child.  I don't know how you would find that out in Germany but you can try JDRF's website.  They have info on this. 

If your daughter gets the pump she will quickly learn how to use it.  My daughter has been on the pump for 10 months.  After about 2 months she was able to do it herself with supervision.  They make the pumps very easy to use.  I still think that she needs that adult supervision just to make sure.  They are still very young to do all the thinking themselves.  

An option is if she gets the pump she can call you from school to let you know what she is about to do.  At least that saves you from going back and forth to her school.  Also, I pack my daughters lunch.  I calculate the carbs and all the nurse has to do is input them in the pump.  If she buys lunch at school see if you can get the weeks menu or know what your daughter will buy and do the best you can with the carbs.  This way she won't have to calculate herself.

I taught my daughter how to read the nutrition facts in the back of food packages.  She knows about serving sizes and carbs.  Try to let your daughter do as much as she can on her own (of course with you double checking).  My daughter can even change her own pump.  She is on the OmniPod so we have to fill it up with insulin at every site change.  She does everthing herself.  You will be surprised at what they are capable of at such a young age.

Hope this helped.



If you believe that the doctor is a good doctor- listen to your him/her. Working at camp for children with diabetes for a few years they almost ALL have the pump now. It is very liberating for them and we have less incidents of hypoglycemia now with the pump they we ever did before.

Annalia suggestion is top notch, I sincerely recommend it.

 [quote user="OliviasMom"]  Our education was no doubt quite a lot less than kids in the States, consisting of about 7 one hour meetings with a German dietician in 2007, and a two hour class at a U.S. hospital in 2008.[/quote] Let me also say this, your education was A LOT better then mine.

Also, she will not have to take that responsibility of insulin dosages all on her own, Annalia suggestion is top notch, I sincerely recommend it. Also, she will learn quickly as she matures- you have already said yourself that she is learning a foreign language quickly, this will be a tool to help her in more ways then one.

ah and a nurse is not always going to be a great help either unless they are specially trained in dealing with diabetes, a lot of times they can be a hindrance to proper care if they don't understand exactly what is needed from them. Also, when you get the pump, talk with the pump trainer about what to do- they will have many ideas.