Advanced Pump Feature #4: Suspend/Resume

If your child has removed his insulin pump for bathing, swimming, or to participate in contact sports, placing it in Suspend mode will stop all insulin deliver until it is manually Resumed, preventing insulin waste (if his basal rates are high). Then, when you are ready to re-connect the pump, use the Resume feature, prime the tubing, and re-connect.

It’s important to note that suspending an insulin pump cancels any temporary basal rates and/or split bolus that is in progress. If you want to continue these functions, you will have to manually reprogram them after resuming pump activity. In this case, it would also be wise to keep the time in suspend mode short, to avoid missing out on necessary insulin.

When your child disconnects from and/or suspends her insulin pump, it’s a good idea to keep the end of the infusion set tubing at the same level as the pump body. This reduces the amount of movement of the insulin in the tubing (both dripping out the end, and slipping back into the cartridge/reservoir) which may help reduce the occurrence of air bubbles.

Tips from the Trenches

Our family rarely uses the Suspend feature. Given the small amounts of insulin that would be lost in the short period in which our son is disconnected from his insulin pump, we usually just “leave it running” while disconnected.

Tips from the Trenches

When Paul was little, we decided to go to the local “hot springs” for a long soak. We suspended his pump and left it in the change room locker because he couldn’t wear it into the hot pool. When we came back after an hour to “top up” his missing basal, we were met with a loud alarm. I quickly shut it off. But not before I was met with many stern looks from the other patrons who were probably wondering if it was a bomb. In public places, I now prefer to use the temporary basal program to shut it off instead of suspending it. ~Danielle

Advanced Pump Feature #5: Delivery Speed

If your child experiences a stinging sensation when a bolus is delivered, especially on large boluses, it may be because too much insulin is being delivered too quickly for his body. You may want to check the flow rate of his pump… some pump models have a delivery speed as fast as 0.9 U/sec, some as slow as 1.5 U/min.

You may also want to check if his pump has a variable bolus delivery speed; if so, setting it to “slow” may help reduce or eliminate the sting on delivery. If your child’s pump does not have a variable setting for speed of bolus delivery, you could try using an Extended Bolus (with the time period set as short as possible – ex. 0.1 hour, equivalent to 6 minutes). In this case, you are not using the Extended Bolus to deal with combo-worthy food (as discussed in #2 above), but in order to slow down the delivery speed.

Note: Some kids are sensitive to the first bolus through a new infusion set, but by the second bolus on the same set, they no longer comment about it hurting. In this case, even with the delivery speed on “slow”, the fresh site may sting a bit. If you don’t want them to just put up with the sting of that first bolus, you could try delivering that first bolus (only) as an extended bolus over the shortest time period possible. It will take a little longer for the insulin to start working, but may be worth it if it makes every bolus — even the first one — pain-free.

More information on Advanced Pump Features:
Go back to Getting the Most from Your Insulin Pump: 5 Advanced Pump Features or go directly to:
Advanced Pump Feature #1: Temporary Basal Rates 
Advanced Pump Feature #2: Alternate Basal Programs
Advanced Pump Feature #3: Split Bolus (a.k.a. Combo Bolus, Dual-Wave Bolus, Extended Bolus)

The above information was reviewed for content accuracy by clinical staff of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic.

This material has been developed from sources that we believe are accurate, however, as the field of medicine (in particular as it applies to diabetes) is rapidly evolving, the information should not be relied upon, as it is designed for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care profession.

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