Access to Continuous Glucose Monitoring for people older than 21

Some people living with type 1 diabetes over the age of 21 years are now eligible to access subsidised continuous glucose monitoring (CGM).

CGM helps those with type 1 diabetes to monitor their glucose levels through a wearable device and reduces the requirement to regularly check their blood glucose levels via a finger prick.

CGM is suitable for anyone living with type 1 diabetes whether they are using multiple daily injections or an insulin pump.

To be eligible for the subsidized CGM consumables through the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS), a person living with type 1 diabetes must have valid concession status and a high clinical need as assessed by their endocrinologist or diabetologist, physician, credentialled diabetes educator or nurse practitioner. There are also other conditions for eligibility.

Here is the complete list of who is eligible:

  • Children and young people aged under 21 years with type 1 diabetes
  • People with type 1 diabetes aged 21 years or older who have valid concessional status and have a high clinical need
  • Women with type 1 diabetes who are actively planning pregnancy, pregnant, or immediately post-pregnancy
  • Children and young people under 21 years with conditions very similar to type 1 diabetes who require insulin

What is CGM?

CGM is a method of continuously tracking glucose levels through a sensor probe just under the skin. A CGM system is made up of a sensor, transmitter and receiver.

The sensor device includes a small, flexible sensor cannula that is worn for around seven days and then replaced.

The sensor is packaged with an automatic insertion device and medical tape to adhere the sensor to the skin. The sensor is positioned on top of the skin and measures glucose readings that come from the probe placed in the interstitial fluid, just under the skin.

The transmitter is a device that attaches to the sensor and sends glucose readings to a receiver so they can be read. Depending on the CGM manufacturer, the transmitter will need to be replaced either every three, six or 12 months.

Some transmitters may be rechargeable and require recharging approximately weekly.

Others do not need recharging, have a shorter life and require replacement more often.

The receiver allows you to receive and review your glucose readings electronically. The receiver can be a standalone device or a compatible smart device such as a smart phone.

People who use a smart device need to ensure that it has compatible technology to receive the data transmitted.

If you use a smart phone as a receiver, you may be able to connect other people who you nominate, for example, family members, to view your CGM readings.

The benefits of CGM is that they can send real time alarms to a receiver or smart phone to alert the wearer or a carer that there may be an issue with glucose levels.

This allows for detection of levels trending high or low, which may help the user to address any concerns earlier.

Checking BGLs via a finger prick is still recommended every 12 hours to calibrate the CGM. If there are clinical symptoms, checking BGLs with a finger prick is advisable.

The sensor and transmitter are water resistant and can be worn in the shower. The receivers need to remain dry.

Under the NDSS subsidies, those who are eligible to access CGM will receive fully subsidised sensors and transmitters.

However, the cost of the receiver is not subsidised. The outlay for a standalone receiver or a compatible smart phone can start at around $600.

To find out if you are eligible for subsidised CGM or which CGM device is suitable for you, talk to your health care team.

Read the Diabetes Australia’s Position Statement: Glucose self-monitoring in adults with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

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