What are the advantages?
Making a decision about which insulin pump for you is a personal choice and with any decision, there are always pros and cons. There are a few advantages of patch pumps compared to standard insulin pumps. These include:
No wires or tubes
The most obvious advantage of a patch pump is the lack of wires and tubing. Wires can get tangled or caught up, or you can get bubbles in them if you haven’t primed all of the air out.
Both of these can lead to issues with the delivery of insulin so you may not get the full insulin dose you intended.
The other thing people like about the patch pump is the freedom of movement that it gives in daily lives. For example when you wake up, doing exercise or when you go to the bathroom, you don’t need to worry about where your pump is or that the wires are tangled or pulling.
The other big benefit to a patch pump is water resistance which means you don’t need to disconnect when going for a shower.
Standard insulin pumps will need to be disconnected when going for a shower, however, with patch pumps you don’t need to do this. The Omnipod and the A6 are also fully waterproof which means you don’t even need to disconnect when going swimming, however, it’s a good idea to check the adhesive after swimming just to make sure it hasn’t become loose.
The cannula is hidden and is easy to insert with the touch of a button.
Depending on the model of the pump, the button to insert the cannula is either on the remote unit or directly on the reservoir patch. For some people that really dislike needles and find this part of diabetes management distressing, it can be very comforting that the cannula needle is hidden.
Size of pump
Patch pumps tend to be smaller so are more discreet to wear compared to the visible infusion sets of traditional pumps.
As you wear the pump directly on your skin, you don’t need to attach it to a waistband or put it in a pocket. This can make going about your daily life much easier and give you less to think about.
Patch pumps usually have advanced functions.
Generally, you can expect some advanced functions with patch pumps such as integrated blood glucose monitoring or continuous glucose monitoring, bolus calculators, programming of insulin delivery for meals or integrated calorie databases to make carb counting a lot easier.
Do you use a patch pump or have you tried one? What do you like about it? We’d love to hear about your own experiences.