Infusion therapy is a procedure where drugs are injected directly into your veins. Intravenous drugs work more quickly than drugs that are ingested through other means. Some people need infusion therapy indefinitely to treat chronic conditions, while others only require it for a short amount of time to treat acute conditions like infections. Here's what will happen when you visit an infusion clinic:
1. A nurse will gather basic information about you.
When you arrive at the infusion clinic for your first appointment, a nurse will gather some basic information. They will measure your height and ask you to step on a scale so they can measure your weight as well. Accurate height and weight measurements are important because they allow your doctor to calculate the correct dosage for your infusion treatment. You will also be asked if you have any known allergies, since certain allergies may impact your reaction to medication.
2. A doctor will review your treatment plan with you.
Before your treatment begins, you will see a doctor. They will review your treatment plan and tell you what you can expect from your infusion therapy. If you need to return for follow-up visits, your doctor will let you know how many additional treatments you will need.
3. A catheter will be placed in your arm.
A catheter made from thin, flexible plastic will be placed in your arm. Your nurse will look for a large, visible vein for easy placement. Ideally, a vein will be chosen from the inside of your elbow. If your nurse can't find a viable vein there, they may place the catheter in your wrist or the back of your hand instead. Before breaking your skin, the nurse will use an alcohol swab to sanitize the area. A thin needle will be used to insert the catheter; then the needle will be removed, and the catheter will be taped in place.
4. Your infusion therapy will begin.
Drugs will flow into your vein through a sterile tube. The length of time you spend in infusion therapy will vary depending on the type of medication you need. In general, you should expect your appointment to take at least half an hour, although some types of therapy can take a few hours. Bring your cellphone, a book, or another form of entertainment with you. As long as you keep the arm with the IV steady, you may use your other arm.
For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Idaho Arthritis Center.