• advanced nursing practice;
  • continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion;
  • diabetes care;
  • practice evaluation;
  • type 1 diabetes

Aim.  This paper reports a study of patients’ current practice with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusions, particularly with respect to the management of the pump.

Background.  Successful implementation of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion requires a motivated patient with a range of technical skills and self-management capabilities. The therapy should be prescribed, implemented and monitored by a skilled professional team familiar with it and capable of supporting the patient.

Methods.  A questionnaire was mailed to 102 continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion treated patients at a Swedish university hospital with experience of pump treatment for at least 6 months.

Results.  The questionnaire was answered by 88% of the patients, 53 women and 37 men, aged 22–71 years with a duration of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion use of between 7 months and 19 years. The changing interval for soft infusion set ranged from 2·0 to 10·0 days (mean 4·8) and for metal needles from 1·5 to 7·5 days (mean 3·8), P = 0·001. Catheter occlusions were significantly more often reported in patients with presence of bleeding at the infusion site (P = 0·011) and among those using insulin lispro (P = 0·032).

Conclusions.  Patients having long-term continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion should be carefully audited with respect to the management of the insulin pump and its accessories. In patients who frequently experience problems, shorter intervals between changes of infusion sets are strongly advocated and type of insulin preparation may be of importance in some cases.