Infusion therapy is the administration of intravenous medication to patients who have severe conditions that cannot effectively be treated by oral medications. Drug therapies that are commonly administered through the veins include antivirals, antibiotics, antifungals, immunoglobulins, antibody medications, and saline fluids.
Home infusion therapy is the administration of intravenous medication to patients in their own homes. Small portable pumps that deliver medication through an IV line make it possible for many patients to receive their medication in the comfort of their own homes. Home administration is possible for antibiotics, antifungals, and antiviral medications. Care can be provided by the patient, friends/family, or trained nursing staff, but is overseen by trained pharmacists, dieticians, nurses, and home health professionals.
Some of the advantages of home infusion therapy include:
For many patients, the ability to return home to resume normal life and activities is a preferential option. Due to technological advances, home infusion therapy has been proven to be a safe and effective alternative to inpatient care and can save patients money.
Patients can shorten their stays at hospitals or nursing homes by opting to do infusion therapy either in their own homes or in ambulatory infusion centers.
A number of home infusion therapy providers also operate their own Ambulatory Infusion Suite, or AIS for short. At the AIS, clinical care that is provided in accordance with a physician’s orders is both monitored and performed by registered nurses and pharmacists, who are very skilled in infusion/specialty drug administration.
The AIS is one of three different kinds of Ambulatory Infusion Centers (AICs):
The infusion pharmacy ensures that infusion drugs are:
In addition, infusion pharmacies provide many professional services – patient assessment and admission, education and training, care planning and coordination, care management, trouble-shooting, and treatment plan oversight, among others – which are all pivotal in achieving the best possible outcomes for patients receiving infusion therapy.
Moreover, specialized equipment (like infusion pumps and poles) as well as administration supplies (IV sets, syringes, etc.) are essential in maintaining the highest quality care. The pharmacy supplies the patient and services the equipment when necessary.
In order to ensure that infusion drugs are administered both safely and properly, infusion pharmacies provide the following services: