Infusion therapy is an alternative to oral treatment and it is intended for people who, due to their illness, cannot take medications orally. Also, some medications cannot be taken orally for different reasons (for example, the stomach acids would destroy them, and they would no longer be effective disease treatment).
Infusion therapy involves the intravenous or subcutaneous administration of drugs: medication is administered intravenously (IV) through the use of a sterile catheter or tubing that is inserted into a patient’s vein. However, this term also refers to the subcutaneous administration of drugs, where a drug is being administered under the patient’s skin.
In the past, infusion therapy was used only in hospitals. However, infusion therapy can now be safely administered in outpatient infusion centers and in the comfort of the patient’s home, allowing them more freedom to continue to live independently.
Who Can Administer Infusion Therapy?
Infusion therapy is normally administered by licensed and trained nurses. However, visiting nurses can educate and train the patient and caregivers on the safe administration of infusion therapy at home. They also visit the patient periodically to assess the infusion environment and provide the necessary care.
Home infusion therapy usually involves coordination among patients, caregivers, physicians, home infusion pharmacies, and, in some cases, home health agencies.
Once your physician prescribes home infusion therapy, the specially-trained infusion team will create an individualized care plan specific to your condition and health needs, provide training on how to administer the medication intravenously, determine the frequency of home visits from your infusion nurse, monitor your symptoms, and maintain regular communication with your health provider.
Who Needs Infusion Therapy?
Your physician will prescribe infusion therapy if your condition is so severe that it requires the medication to be administered directly into your bloodstream, if you are unable to swallow the drugs, or if your treatment involves a type of medication known as a biologic response modifier (specialty infusion therapy).
Infusion therapy is typically used to treat severe or chronic infections that don’t respond to oral medications (antibiotics).
Infusion therapy is often a therapy option for patients with infections that did not respond well to oral antibiotics, cancer patients and cancer-related pain, people with Chron’s disease, congestive heart failure, multiple sclerosis, some forms of immune deficiency disorders, patients with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, some forms of arthritis, allergies, asthma, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration caused by nausea.
Is Home Infusion Therapy Covered by Insurance?
Most insurance plans cover home infusion services and medication. However, you may want to inquire with your insurance provider as there are broad differences in the coverage of each insurance provider.