Campus Alert: Find the latest UMMS campus news and resources at

Search Close Search
Search Close Search
Page Menu

UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence Blog

Be Prepared with a Diabetes Technology Backup Plan

lunes, enero 25, 2021


It’s important to have a backup plan in place in case your continuous glucose monitor (CGM) or insulin pump fails for any reason. 

Insulin Pumps

Your diabetes care team will let you know what type of insulin(s) you should always keep in your fridge, and the daily amount of insulin to inject if your pump isn’t working. They’ll also provide a prescription for glucagon to treat severe low blood sugar if needed. “Make sure the insulin and glucagon are always within the ‘use by’ date,” said Cheryl Barry, RN, MS, CDCES, Manager of Adult Diabetes Education at the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence. You’ll also need insulin syringes or pens to administer the insulin. Always keep extra supplies on hand, such as infusion sets, batteries and tape.

If blood glucose is rising and not coming down after a correction bolus, take out the infusion set and check if it’s bent or kinked. Don’t continue giving correction boluses with the insulin pump. Always check blood glucose one to two hours after changing your set. Print our Insulin Pump Tips for Troubleshooting High Blood Sugar.    

Write down the following device settings and keep them in a safe place. If your pump malfunctions, you’ll have the current settings available.

  • Basal: rates, times, max basal rate, type of temporary basal
  • Bolus: carb ratios and times, sensitivity (correction) factor and times, target blood glucose (BG) and times, insulin on board (active insulin) time, maximum bolus
  • Alarms: type of alarm, low reservoir volume, hours to pod expiration (Omnipod only), auto-off hours (if using that setting)
  • Sensor: transmitter ID, high alarm, low alarm, high snooze time, low snooze time, low threshold suspend value (if available)

Print our Insulin Pump Failure Guidelines and keep them with your backup supplies. 

Continuous Glucose Monitors

“These devices are incredible and have improved diabetes management for so many people,” said Barry. “However, like any technology, they run the risk of failure, so you must be prepared.”

Always keep a blood glucose meter and test strips available to do traditional finger-sticks testing if your CGM should fail for any reason. “I suggest people keep blood glucose meters at home, in the car at work, or anyplace you visit on a regular basis,” added Barry. “This way, if your CGM malfunctions, you’ll have access to test your [blood] sugars manually.”

Keep your updated CGM settings written down someplace that you can access them should you have to reset your device.