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Re: [IP] Guidance for a support group meeting please?

> I will be hosting a pump support group meeting in
> the Halifax, Nova Scotia area in June.  It will be
the first one, with a lot of new pumping families, I
> was wondering if anyone had a format which was
> successful that they might share with me. thanks
> Barb....mom to Erica, A Canadian Butterfly
Hi Barb,
 Good for you! With the help of some other pumping
families, I started a pump support group in
Belleville, Ontario. We meet once a month. We asked
everyone to bring a snack to share and we provide
liquid refreshments (ie. coffee, tea and fruit drink
or pop). We have a good sized room and put the chairs
in a circle so that it is easier to see everyone and
it is easier to socialize too. We start our meeting by
going around the circle and introducing ourselves and
telling how long we have been diabetic,( support
people such as parents, spouses and siblings introduce
themselves too!), how long pumping or if investigating
the pump, and if pumping; what type of pump we use. We
have different topics for different months. Our first
topic was basically what the pump has done for us.
Also, because so many of us were new to pumping, we
discussed successes and problems. It was interesting
to have feedback from everyone about how to handle
different situations and beneficial to be able to draw
upon experiences from different people. It also gave
us the opportunity to give support to each other and
to know that we are NOT alone!! We kept our first
meeting fairly informal and have continued to do this
as people seem more comfortable with this approach. We
also stress that YMMV. We always end with a social
time at the end for at least a half hour where people
can mill around, have a snack, newbies or
investigators can talk to some of the veterans about
the pump they are using or just pumping in general.
 We have done a bit of a survey asking group members
what things they would like to see discussed. 
 Some of our topics have been:
 Preparing ahead of time for trips to the ER (we had a
list of things to take in an ER kit to make ahead of
time, provided the ER letter to all, discussed how to
handle different situations),
 Carbohydrate counting (from the basic knowledge up to
handling fats and proteins, sharing recipe book info
and sites on the web to do a nutritional analysis with
your own recipes, eating out, etc...)
 Managing sick days and over-the-counter drugs
 Record keeping
 Pattern mangement
 Testing...different types of meters, lab tests,
ketone testing....
 Some of these meetings we have invited pump reps,
reps from the meter companies, pharmacists, CDEs,
Dieticians to help us out.
 We have a table with free info packages and videos
from all of the pump companies. We have also started
our own library that has books donated from the pump
companies (ie. "Pumper in the School" by MM, "Teens
Pumping it up" by MM, "Pumping Insulin" books donated
by Disetronics, carb counting books also donated by
Disetronics). These books are on a borrowing basis.
 We also have a newsletter for our group and any free
info that pump &/or meter companies want to give us.
We also have forms from the government to cover some
 Our group started with about 8 people and has grown
to almost 40 people since September. We advertise our
meetings on the local community TV announcements,
local and area papers, and we also hand out
introductory letters about our group to Doctors and
 It has been a lot of work but well worth every minute
of it. One of our early members, who had a HbA1C of 13
before pumping and told she could not have any
children, now has a HbA1C of 5.8 and just gave birth
to a healthy baby boy...what a wonderful success
 Good Luck, e-mail me if you have any questions I
might be able to help you with.
Carolyn Green
Quinte Insulin Pumpers
email @ redacted

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