Need Help

Submit your question to our team of health care professionals.

Current Question

See what's on the mind of the community right now.

Meet the Team

Learn more about our world-renowned team.

CWD Answers Archives

Review the entire archive according to the date it was posted.

August 23, 2001

Insulin Pumps

Question from Bethel, Maine, USA:

What is the role of the counselor on the medical team for insulin pump patients?


From: DTeam Staff

The role of counselor is integral for insulin pumpers or for anyone with a diabetes diagnosis. Counselors are clinically trained to assess levels of adjustment to new technology, acceptance of diagnosis, family dynamics which aid or compromise adherence, and most of all to provide objective support to individuals with diabetes.

Of course I am biased. However, without a counselor, the treatment team is incomplete. Diabetes is a condition of body and spirit.

Additional comments from Dr. Jill Weissberg-Benchell:

Many diabetes programs have mental health professionals who are available to consult with individuals living with diabetes, regardless of their chosen form of insulin administration. Living with diabetes is not an easy job, and often affects many aspects of a person’s life, including his/her family’s life. Psychologists or other mental health professionals help people with diabetes cope with living with a chronic illness and can help them learn strategies to solve particular problems.

A psychologist or other mental health professional often meets with families who are considering insulin pump therapy for a number of reasons. As you already know, pump therapy requires a great deal more time and a lot more problem-solving than multiple daily injections. In addition, the increased risk of DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis] makes blood sugar monitoring when on a pump more important than ever. Individuals who use a pump successfully know that the pump does not relieve them of having to think about their diabetes. In fact, they often spend more of their time thinking about their diabetes. However, the flexibility they gain in their schedules is often worth that time. A mental health professional will talk to individuals to help them determine if they are ready for the increased demands on their time. In addition, many people believe/hope that they will be able to ignore their diabetes once they are on a pump, since it offers a continuous infusion of insulin. At times, parents of children who are interested in a pump also believe that they need to be less involved in their child’s diabetes care, since the pump works “on its own”. Such unrealistic expectations of a pump for either group can lead people to feel overwhelmed and frustrated by their chosen method of insulin delivery.