Rachael Jacques has developed tartoos (temporary tattoos) for people with diabetes who are on multiple daily injections or are pump users to help them facilitate proper site rotation and avoid lipohypertrophy. 
 
By: John Parkinson, Clinical Content Coordinator, DiabetesCare.net

Surrounded by health issues within her family, and a professional background in health education, Rachael Jacques’ road to the creation of her tartoos concept has been one born out of experience.

She has been a caretaker and a first-hand witness to the challenges of chronic, ongoing care. Starting with her younger brother, Luke, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when they were kids. She saw him have to take multiple daily injections. Later, in her professional life, Jacques (pictured, lower right) worked in public health as an educator including a stint in pediatric diabetes care, where she not only saw kids who were first diagnosed with the disease, but spoke to diabetes educators about their ongoing care challenges. 

One of Jacques’ sons, Carter, was born with autism, has Graves disease, and ongoing special care needs. And her husband, Craig, was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma a few years ago. These are all separate pieces of her life, yet collectively she has seen these various experiences come together with her tartoo concept to help both caregivers and people with diabetes with proper injection site management.  

Tartoos, a combination of the words targeted and tattoo, are meant to help people with diabetes make their lives a little bit easier with a simple solution: using temporary tattoos to identify the next injection site. One of the major things this concept can also do is help avoid lipohypertrophy. Of course, lipohypertrophy can be problematic as it can slow down the absorption rate of insulin.

The tartoos are just like the temporary tattoos many of us had as kids. Users simply apply them with a wet cloth to the skin and place the tartoo grid on the part of the desired part of the anatomy for injection therapy. The grids come in three designs: robots, flowers, and one Jacques calls medicons—which are geared more for adults.  Jacques says she is open to customers’ suggestions and if they can build a consensus of a particular design they will include it. (The illustration above provides an idea of how the injection grid is set up with the tartoos.) 
 
For anyone on pumps, tartoos are applicable to these people as well. Jacques has said people with pumps have already ordered them. “We get that people on pumps are not going to utilize as many tartoos as those on daily multiple injection therapy. I would recommend they trim the grid down to how it would fit for them,” says Jacques. She says they are developing a pump-specific tartoo grid for customers as well. Her company, Visual Medical, is looking into make pump-specific grids.

This unique concept formally came together when her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma and they were in the hospital. When the new nurses came on during a shift change, Jacques witnessed the difficulty many had in trying to identify where the last injection spot had been for her husband`s medication therapy. If medical professionals were struggling with this, questioned Jacques, then how would a young child or a caregiver, who is new to the process of daily injections, handle this? 
 
Jacques was familiar with some of the techniques hospitals taught new type 1 patients for site rotation, yet none of them had made a visual aid such as this.  “We are providing an injection roadmap for patients so that everyone can be on the same page about where the last injection was and where the next one will take place,” states Jacques. 

People can simply peel back the grids and place them on the body.“Simply, put this tartoo grid on once a week, and don’t think about site rotation for several days," says Jacques. She says the manufacturer`s specifications are that the tartoos will last for 5 to 7 days, but having tested them numerous times, she says they can last up to two weeks.  

The recommendation is for everyone to use an antiseptic wipe on the tartoo before injection to have clean site compliance. Jacques is sensitive to peoples’ potential concerns about the type of inks that were going to be used. She explains the inks are all FDA-approved and she would be happy to provide any customer with a pdf from the manufacturer about the chemicals used in the inks. 

She also knows when people are first diagnosed, and they have all this information thrown at them, they can feel overwhelmed by it.  

“When someone is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it’s about dealing with hypoglycemia, titrating doses correctly, and monitoring glucose, explains Jacques. “But to be honest, proper injection site administration is lower on the list because there are so many other priorities. I wanted to provide a solution so that parents, other caretakers, or people with diabetes, didn’t have to think about this one aspect of diabetes management all the time. I wanted to take one thing off their plate.”

For anyone interested in purchasing tartoos, go to Jacques’ company website here. Customers get four grids for $12.95, or approximately a month’s worth.