Read the Original Lansing State Journal Article Here.
When recovering from or treating chronic illness, there’s no place like home. For many patients in need of critical medications, home infusion is a safe and convenient alternative to receiving medication in the hospital.
Intravenous (IV) infusion is the administration of drugs such as antibiotics, hydration therapy, and pain management medication through a vein directly into the bloodstream. Home infusion is a service provided to patients to help them receive their IV infusions in the comfort and security of their own home. The ability to receive medication at home helps patients continue their normal lifestyle and return to work while receiving treatment.
In addition to providing comfort and security, home infusion is proven to reduce hospital readmission rates, and is especially beneficial for those with chronic long-term illness, recovering from a recent surgery, or being treated for an infection.
Michael Lehr, RPh, Director of McLaren Home Infusion, explained some benefits that patients may receive by using home infusion
“There are some medications that were once only given in the doctor’s office, so when a patient needed a drug, he or she would have to drop what they were doing, or take half a day off work, and go to the doctor’s office to receive treatment. We now have the ability to do that right at home. A registered nurse will come to the patient’s residence, start an IV, administer the drug, and when the infusion is done, the patient is done,” Lehr said.
Home infusion also provides convenience for patients.
“It can be a hassle to drive to a clinic to receive infusions, especially if the patient is on a long-term therapy on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis, when most of these treatments can be done at home. By receiving infusions at home, travel time for the patient can be decreased or even eliminated,” Lehr said.
Home infusion also affords patients the ability to return to work at an expedited rate. Instead of having to complete a six-week hospital stay, patients can receive their antibiotic treatment at home.
“We have patients that, through home infusion, are well enough to go right back to work. They can take the IV bag with them or infuse their medication before they go to the office,” Lehr said.
Gayle Losinger, RN, OCN, Pharmacy Education/Quality Improvement Coordinator, explained how easy it is for a doctor to make a referral
“One phone call and our team will verify insurance, coordinate nursing services, process the prescription, make the infusions, and schedule a delivery to the patient’s home. A pharmacist, a nurse and a driver are on-call 24/7 if any problems or concerns arise,” Losinger said. “The patient and their family are educated about the infusions and trained to administer them, empowering both patient and family to feel confident about receiving IV medications at home.”