Diabetes and Coronavirus Series (Article 3): Diabetes Emergency Preparedness - Having A Diabetes Supply Bag Packed And On Standby For The Hospital/ER

by Kelly Kunik

Kelly Kunik is a blogger and advocate from the U.S. who writes about her life with diabetes on http://diabetesaliciousness.blogspot.com. Describing herself as a “Diabetes Humorist” Kelly uses her comedic lens to describe her experiences and is passionately spreading the word about living a great life with diabetes. Kelly is active on Twitter (@diabetesalish), Facebook (@diabetesaliciousness), and Instagram (@diabetesalish). 

The opinions presented in this blog post are those of the author and may not represent the opinions of Ascensia Diabetes Care. Ascensia have paid Kelly an honorarium for her services as a contributor to this blog.

With everything going on in our COVID19 pandemic world, being prepared when it comes to our diabetes is paramount - and not only at home or work.

COVID19 or not, a diabetes game plan is key if you’re headed to the ER or hospital - that game plan is even more important now with COVID19 and for several reasons.

1. COVID19 provides another potential reason for people with diabetes to head to the hospital - we are considered part of the “at risk” group.

2. If you go to a hospital for any reason, you need to be prepared re: what diabetes items you need to bring in case the hospital is short on critical diabetes supplies.

In my opinion, having a diabetes supply bag packed, on stand-by and filled with at least three weeks of diabetes supplies to take with you to the hospital and just in case, alleviates anxiety and helps you stay safe.

Why? Hospitals and ERs are beyond overwhelmed with COVID19, staff are stretched thin in all areas - which means that ERs and hospitals may not have the people power to monitor your blood glucose as diligently as pre-pandemic times.

Luckily people with diabetes have the ability, skills, and tools to monitor our blood glucose and share with the hospital staff remotely and in real time - which is why you/we need to make sure you have the right supplies and the right amount of supplies.

The FDA recently published guidance to allow people with diabetes to use blood glucose monitoring systems in hospitals that have been labeled for use at home.

The same FDA guidance also stated that people with diabetes who were hospitalized and able to “conduct their own blood glucose testing, while allowing wireless access to results by health care professionals” could actually limit the number of interactions between patient and physician.

Bringing your own D supplies during this time is crucial; FDA approval allows everyone to practice and maintain safe social distancing, and reduces stress and anxiety levels for EVERYONE.

Top 10 Things to Pack in your Emergency Diabetes Supplies Bag

These are in no particular order and the bag should contain three weeks’ worth of supplies of the following items:

  1. Glucose testing kit and supplies, including strips, meter and CGM supplies (don't forget lancets and alcohol wipes)
  2. Insulin pump supplies - infusion sites/reservoirs
  3. Insulin bottle/pens - hospitals don’t necessarily carry ALL insulins - bring your own and bring extra… just in case
  4. Oral medications
  5. Batteries and or chargers for all your diabetes tech - including your smartphone
  6. Speaking of smartphones - don't forget to bring yours
  7. Ketone strips – if ketones are present, you MUST alert hospital staff IMMEDIATELY
  8. Low blood sugar treats: Glucose tabs, juice-boxes, etc.
  9. Glucagon
  10. Proper paperwork: Insurance card, an up-to-date list of all your medications - diabetes and otherwise. Contact list with phone numbers for your Endo, GP, family members and pharmacy. Bring hard copies and email yourself an electronic version.

*And one final tip - call your doctor before heading to the ER so they can alert the staff that you have diabetes, are on your way, and provide the ER with your ETA.


Download PDF version of the top ten things to pack here