Background Advances in medical technology and research documenting clinical effectiveness have led to the increased use of insulin pumps worldwide. However, their use by children in the UK is relatively limited and there is little evidence regarding their impact on patients’ lives.
Objective This study aimed to examine the impact of switching from multiple daily injections to insulin pumps on the glycaemic control and daily lives of children/young people and their families.
Setting University College London Hospital, London.
Method Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with children/young people with type 1 diabetes mellitus (5–17 years; N = 34) and their parents (N = 38), receiving insulin pump therapy and attending paediatric diabetes outpatients clinics at a major university teaching hospital in London. Glycated haemoglobin A1c values from 6 months prior to, and after pump therapy were obtained. Qualitative and quantitative approaches were undertaken for data analysis.
Main outcome measure Glycated haemoglobin A1c and the impact of the use of insulin pumps on the children and their families.
Results The majority of parents (N = 32) and the children/young people (N = 30) reported that glycaemic control was easier to maintain within the target range with pumps compared to injections. This was supported by glycated haemoglobin A1c measures. Participants generally found the devices easy to use and more acceptable than injections. However, parents and children/young people reported many challenges in the early stages of pump therapy (e.g. 7 children/young had worse control at 6 months after starting CSII). Parents and children/young people reported an overall increase in lifestyle flexibility and an improved ability to participate in home, school and social activities whilst maintaining glycaemic control.
Conclusion Administration of insulin via pumps rather than injections was generally preferred. Participants reported most difficulty at the commencement of use. Pump therapy conferred benefits in terms of glycaemic control, general well-being, enabling young people to be more in control of their condition and live more normal lives, as reported by most participants. These are important goals of health policy for children/young people with long-term conditions in the UK.
This library item was referred to by the moderator of the following discussion: Education for insulin pump use