Your physician has prescribed infusion therapy, and you’re overwhelmed. What is infusion therapy? Why has the doctor prescribed it? What’s involved?
Without a doubt, you have so many questions. In this blog, we’ll help eliminate “infusion confusion.”
Why Has My Doctor Prescribed Infusion Therapy?
There are several purposes of infusion therapy—some of which may surprise you.
Certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, pain management drugs, and biologics, such as monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, gene therapies, and cell therapies, may be administered through infusion therapy.
Some chronic conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, may require ongoing infusion therapy to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
Certain pain medications, such as opioids or other analgesics, may be administered through infusion therapy for more controlled and effective pain relief.
Infusion therapy can be used to deliver fluids, electrolytes, and nutrients directly into the bloodstream to address dehydration, malnutrition, or other medical conditions.
Infusion therapy is essential for delivering blood or blood products, such as red blood cells, platelets, or plasma, to individuals who require them due to medical conditions, surgeries, or trauma.
Patients with immunodeficiency disorders may receive immunoglobulin infusions to boost their immune system.
Overall, infusion therapy is crucial in managing various medical conditions, providing a direct and efficient means of delivering necessary medications and fluids, reducing side effects such as stomach upset, and avoiding hospitalization.
How is Infusion Therapy Delivered?
The infusion process involves the administration of fluids, medications, or blood products directly into a patient’s bloodstream. The specific steps can vary depending on the type of infusion, the patient’s condition, and the healthcare setting.
- Before initiating the infusion, healthcare providers conduct a thorough assessment of your medical history, current condition, and any potential allergies.
- The healthcare team reviews the prescription or order for the infusion to ensure accuracy and that it aligns with your needs.
- Healthcare providers gather the necessary equipment and supplies, including the prescribed medication, intravenous (IV) fluids, infusion pump, IV catheter or needle, tubing, and any additional items required.
- A suitable vein is selected for the infusion. The chosen site is cleaned with an antiseptic solution, and a tourniquet may be applied to make the veins more visible. Strict infection control practices to ensure patient safety during the infusion process.
- A healthcare professional inserts an IV catheter or needle into the selected vein. The catheter is then secured in place.
- The IV tubing is connected to the catheter, and the infusion pump is set to the prescribed rate. The medication or fluids begin to flow into the patient’s bloodstream.
- Throughout the infusion, healthcare providers closely monitor the patient for any signs of adverse reactions, such as allergic reactions, changes in vital signs, or discomfort at the infusion site.
Once the prescribed amount of medication or fluids has been administered, the infusion is completed. The IV catheter is removed, and appropriate post-infusion care is provided.
How Do I Prepare for My Infusion Session?
Have a good breakfast or lunch ahead of your infusion, and, more importantly, be sure to arrive well-hydrated. Being well-hydrated allows the infusion center specialists to administer your treatment far easier.
Wear loose-fitting clothes with short or loose sleeves to make it easy for staff to take your blood pressure, temperature, etc.
Wear layers to keep you comfortable if the temperature fluctuates.
At TwelveStone Health, all our infusion centers are well-stocked with snacks and drinks. We provide blankets and comfortable infusion chairs, complimentary WIFI, television, and a guest chair in a private suite.
Who Will Administer My Infusion at TwelveStone?
Our pharmacists will prepare your medication, ensure proper dosages, and provide information about potential drug interactions or contraindications.
Our nurses and infusion specialists focus specifically on infusion therapy and have advanced training in managing complex infusions or administering specialized treatments. As inserting the IV catheter or needle in a suitable vein can be stressful, our specialists strive to ensure that you will experience as little discomfort as possible. They also regulate the infusion rate and ensure the proper delivery of medications or fluids, closely monitoring the patient’s vital signs, infusion site, and overall well-being throughout the infusion process.
How Long Will My Infusion Session Last?
The duration of each infusion session can vary widely depending on the specific medication or treatment being administered, as well as individual factors. Several factors can influence the length of an infusion session.
- The time spent preparing for the infusion, including any necessary assessments, obtaining the medication, and setting up the infusion equipment, can contribute to the overall duration.
- Some medications are administered slowly over an extended period, while others may be given more quickly. The specific drug and its infusion rate can impact the duration of the session. The amount of medication prescribed can affect the length of the infusion. Higher doses may require a longer administration time.
- Individual patient responses can vary. Some individuals may tolerate infusions well and experience minimal side effects, allowing for a faster infusion. Others may require a slower rate to manage potential side effects.
- Treatment protocols and guidelines for specific conditions may dictate the infusion rate and duration. Healthcare providers follow established protocols to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the treatment.
- Some infusions require close monitoring of vital signs or specific laboratory values during the session. This monitoring can extend the overall time spent in the infusion center.
- Patient-specific factors, such as vein condition, overall health, and previous experiences with infusions, can influence the speed at which the infusion is administered.
Do I Have to Come to an Infusion Center for Treatment?
In some cases, infusion therapy can be administered in settings other than a traditional infusion center. The appropriate location for receiving treatment depends on the specific medication, the treatment protocol, and individual patient needs.
You may have the option to receive infusion therapy in the comfort of your home. TwelveStone home infusion services are administered by trained healthcare professionals, and the necessary equipment and medications are delivered to the patient’s residence. This option is often suitable for individuals who meet specific criteria and can safely self-administer or have a caregiver assist with the process.
In some cases, healthcare providers can administer certain infusions in their offices. This is more common for treatments that do not require extensive monitoring or specialized equipment.
For some complex or high-risk infusions, a hospital setting may be deemed necessary. Hospitals are equipped with advanced medical facilities and can provide a higher level of care and monitoring when needed.
TwelveStone offers Peer Advocate support from real patients like you who are living with the same condition and can offer the experience, strength, and hope necessary to enjoy life more fully. We also partner with key patient support organizations and even offer specialized clinical hours.
At TwelveStone, we strive to make your infusion treatment as easy as possible. If you have any questions at all regarding any aspect of the process, just ask us. We’re here to help.