Insulin pump therapy is to be offered to children with type 1 diabetes in Cork, Ireland, as part of a new service aimed at helping diabetic kids better manage their condition.
Kids with type 1 diabetes usually receive daily insulin injections to help regulate their blood sugar levels. But under the new service, children, along with their parents, teachers and any other relevant carers, will be trained in how to use insulin pumps, which replace the need for painful insulin jabs .
The training will be provided at a first-of-its-kind dedicated pump school by a consultant-led diabetes team from Cork University Hospital (CUH).
As part of the new school, a child wears a pump containing salt water for seven days, which allows them to spot any problems they may have. The aim is that by the third week they are able to use the pump properly to control their diabetes.
The course, which takes a day-and-a-half to complete, is being made available to suitable children in the Cork and Kerry area, with priority being given to under-5s.
According to the Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE), which is running the service as part of its National Diabetes Clinical Programmen, the service marks the first time insulin pump therapy has been offered outside of Dublin.
Explaining the benefits of insulin pumps, Dr Stephen O’Riorda, consultant paediatric endocrinologist at CUH, commented: “Pump therapy improves blood glucose control and quality of life and reduces the long-term complications associated with diabetes such as blindness, heart disease and kidney failure.
“There is a significant practical benefit of pumps over injections for children and their families, for example, a reduction from five insulin injections per day to one infusion set change every two to three days.”
But he added that pump therapy is “not for all and careful patient selection is at the core of successful insulin pump service”.

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