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Insulin device makes ‘huge difference’ to diabetes control, say nurse researchers

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A device designed to help patients with diabetes safely manage their insulin can have a “dramatic” impact, with reductions in missed injections and double doses, according to nurse researchers.

The NeedleBay device, which allows users to prepare needles a week in advance and provides a visual reminder of when to take injections and tablets, also means users feel much more in control of their medication, the researchers found.

“The potential savings, and benefits for patients, are significant” 

Molly Courtenay

The research, published in the journal Diabetes and Primary Care, was led by nurse prescribing expert Professor Molly Courtenay, from Cardiff University’s school of healthcare sciences. She has previously worked extensively with nurse prescribers and diabetes nurse specialists, including looking at the issue of insulin adherence.

Her team developed a telephone questionnaire for patients who had tried the NeedleBay system to explore their experiences before and after using the device. In all, 226 people completed the survey.

Before using NeedleBay, more than two thirds had missed insulin injections or mistakenly taken a double dose. But, while using it, the proportion of patients making such errors fell to around 20%.

Cardiff University

Insulin device makes ‘huge difference’ to diabetes control

Molly Courtenay

The device is designed so users can attach and remove needles safely from an insulin pen and dispose of used needles without touching them.

The survey also revealed a drop in the number of people accidentally pricking themselves with a needle.

Meanwhile, the proportion of people who felt in control of their medication increased from 20% to 99% of users.

Professor Courtney said the survey found the device made the delivery of insulin and storage of needles “very easy”.

“Given that four-fifths of NHS diabetes spending goes on treating complications caused by poor insulin adherence, the potential savings, and benefits for patients, are significant,” she said.

“It wasn’t just a small effect”

Judith Carrier

Judith Carrier, senior lecturer in primary care and public health nursing at Cardiff, described the impact on users as “dramatic”.

“It wasn’t just a small effect,” she said. “It was the fact that people were coming back and saying ‘yes this actually has made a huge difference to my overall diabetes control’.”

It was particularly helpful for those with some form of disability, she added.

NeedleBay was developed by UK-based firm Diabetes Care Technology, which approached the university to undertake the research.

Its chief executive Andrew Tasker said the data gathered demonstrated the product had the potential to “save the health service millions”.

Cardiff University

Insulin device makes ‘huge difference’ to diabetes control

Pictured holding the NeedleBay device is patient Carole Terrett, a former hospital worker from Ebbw Vale. With her are Professor Molly Courtenay and Andrew Tasker

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