Infusion therapy: what is it, what can you expect? | Iredell Health System
When you’re sick, oral antibiotics, which you swallow in pill or liquid form, are great options to help you feel better as soon as possible. But what if you have a chronic illness or a serious infection that doesn’t respond to oral antibiotics? Or a condition that makes you physically unable to swallow medication?
This is when infusion therapy can be helpful.
When your doctor recommends infusion therapy, also known as IV therapy, it can seem confusing at first. However, it is simply a way of administering drugs that cannot be taken orally. Instead of receiving medication by mouth, infusion therapy is used to deliver medication directly into your bloodstream through an intravenous or IV catheter.
“An IV is a small plastic catheter that is inserted with a needle into a vein under the skin. The catheter allows nurses to insert medication directly into your circulatory system,” said Brandy Collins, associate director of infusion care services at Iredell Health System.
As National IV Nurses Day approaches on January 25, take the time to learn more about infusion care and the exceptional work of infusion nurses.
At Iredell Infusion Care, services provided by certified and highly trained IV nurses include:
- Administration of chemotherapy
- Hydration therapy
- Administration of blood products
- IV antibiotics
Infusion therapy can treat several medical conditions, including dehydration, blood and tissue infections, anemia, cancer, and immunosuppressive disorders, among others.
Iredell’s infusion care team sees approximately 150 patients a week, providing lifesaving, life-saving medication to adults 18 and older. Infusion center nurses work closely with doctors in the community to provide the safest and best care possible.
Because infusion therapy can take place over a long period of time, nurses at the infusion center get to know their patients and families well.
“Nurses know their patients’ children and grandchildren, their jobs and vacations, and are really part of their lives,” Collins said.
“The long-term patients at the center love the nurses. Patients sometimes bring breakfast sandwiches, candy, and donuts to their appointments to show their appreciation. Many of them still stop for a ‘hello’ months or years after their treatment has finished,” she added.
What can you expect at Iredell Infusion Care?
If your doctor recommends infusion therapy, Iredell Infusion Care can provide the care you need.
First, to prepare for your infusion treatment, be sure to hydrate yourself before your appointment. Collins also encourages you to write down all your questions before your appointment so you don’t forget to ask them.
Once you enter the Iredell Ambulatory Services building, a friendly receptionist will take your information and check you in. Shortly after, a nurse will greet you in the waiting room and bring you back to the treatment room.
In the treatment room, you can choose a comfortable reclining chair to sit on and a nurse will offer you a drink, a snack or a warm blanket. The nurse will then check your vital signs, explain the medication to you and answer any questions you may have.
“You can always count on a competent nurse to take care of you. Sit back, relax and enjoy that much-requested warm blanket,” Collins said.
When you are ready, the nurse will start the IV and connect you to a pump that infuses the drugs. When complete, the IV is deleted and you are discharged with any additional information you may need.
Iredell Infusion Care is located in the Ambulatory Services Building at 739 Hartness Road behind Iredell Memorial Hospital. If you would like to learn more or schedule your infusion therapy at Iredell Infusion Care, please call 704-878-7675.
Pictured, left to right: Haley Hammer, Director of Infusion Care Services; Lori Lundy, registered nurse; Amy Mchargue, RN; Lynn Rosental, RN; Ruth Keene, CAN; and Brandy Collins, assistant director of infusion care services.