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Published on March 15, 2019

close-up of an IV drip

What Home Infusions Provide Patients and Families

In the face of some medical conditions like pain or infections, the best way to help a patient is the very-direct approach of using intravenous (IV) medication.

Yet the efforts patients must make, over many trips back to the clinic, hospital or infusion center, are inconvenient. They also can be potential barriers to successful completion of their IV treatments. When people can avoid that hassle and have the much-needed IV at home, they benefit with time saved as well.

“If a patient had to go to the hospital for an infection, and they received powerful antibiotics through an IV, the doctor might want those drugs to continue for a while,” said Obadiah Scheich, PharmD, director of the Avera Home Infusion Pharmacy at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center. “Patients want to go home, and with our service, they can while still receiving the medication they need.”

Scheich said this area of health care is growing, and as people realize how it works, they often realize it’s a best fit for them. He shares these key points on home-infusion facts.

Who It Helps

The largest group of people who need home infusion services are those who require IV antibiotics to fight infections, but the service also helps hospice patients. It also can be helpful for people who may receive specialty infusions only once or twice a month to treat a chronic condition. “We have a number of patients who face Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and we also help people that may have cardiac problems,” he said. “We partner with Avera@Home to offer any home nursing support that’s needed.”

It’s Fully Supported

No one goes home without fully understanding the nuts-and-bolts details of their at-home infusion. Educational guidance for the patient, or for their loved ones, is thorough and also ensured with visits from registered nurses. “When RNs stop by, they can answer questions or assess how the infusion at home is coming along,” Scheich said. “We also have on-call help available 24/7. Leaving the hospital with an IV medication can be intimidating, but almost everyone finds that with some instruction, it can be done safely in their home.”

It Addresses Costs

Home infusion is often called “win-win” because it allows patients to receive the IV medication they need in the comfort of their own home. Depending on insurance coverage, the service can also save money. Avera Home Infusions provides not only the medication as the provider prescribes it, but also the supplies, such as medical lines, flushes, alcohol wipes and kits that go with the infusion. “When patients need to provide lab samples, Avera@Home nurses can draw them at home and deliver them to the lab,” he said. “The medications we send via courier or UPS are all carefully prepared in a sterile environment to ensure safety. This service really gives many people another option outside of a clinic or hospital visit – it can make a real difference to the right patient.”

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