May 25, 2024

Home Infusion Therapy: An Effective Option for Long-Term Medical Treatment at Home

At home intravenous therapy is a medical treatment option that allows patients to receive therapies like antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, pain management medications, nutrition support, and other medications intravenously at home. Unlike traditional treatment options that require regular visits to a hospital or healthcare facility, home infusion therapy allows patients to receive intravenous treatments in the comfort of their own home.

How Does At Home Intravenous Therapy Work?

With home infusion therapy, patients are connected to an infusion pump or intravenous infusion device that administers medications through an intravenous line, catheter or graft. The therapy can occur over a short period from a few hours to a few days or can extend over longer periods from weeks to months depending on the condition being treated and the medication regimen prescribed by the physician.

A home healthcare agency works closely with the patient’s doctor to provide the medical equipment, supplies, nurses and other professionals required for home infusion. Nurses visit the patient’s home to start and monitor the intravenous therapy. They also ensure the line and device are functioning properly and address any issues that may arise during treatment. Home healthcare aides may also visit periodically to assist with daily tasks so patients can focus on recovery.

Conditions Treated With At Home Intravenous Therapy

Some common medical conditions treated with home infusion therapy include:

Cancer: Home infusion chemotherapy allows cancer patients to receive chemotherapy medications through IV without having to stay in a hospital or clinic. This makes treatment more convenient.

Chronic Pain: Patients with conditions like arthritis that cause chronic pain can receive potent intravenous pain medications at home rather than staying in a facility.

Immune Disorders: Patients with immune deficiencies, autoimmune disorders or chronic infections may need long-term antibiotics, immunoglobulins or other therapies delivered intravenously at home between clinic or hospital visits.

Gastrointestinal Disorders: People with Crohn’s disease, colitis or other gastrointestinal conditions may receive IV nutrition, hydration or medications to allow their GI tract to rest and heal when they are unable to consume food orally.

Antibiotic Therapy: Some serious bacterial, viral or fungal infections require weeks or months of IV antibiotics that can be more conveniently managed at home rather than inpatient.

Benefits of Home Infusion Therapy

There are several benefits of receiving medical treatment through at home intravenous therapy versus traditional inpatient or outpatient options:

– Increased comfort and convenience of treatment in a familiar home setting

– Avoidance of hospital or facility-acquired infections which are more common during inpatient care

– Ability to maintain productivity and normal activities of daily living while receiving treatment

– Potential for improved treatment adherence and compliance without disruption of daily schedules

– Cost savings from reduced or eliminated facility fees and transportation costs

– Continued support from loved ones and less dependence on caregivers than with facility-based care

– Flexibility of treatment scheduling around work demands rather than rigid facility hours

Getting Set Up for Home Infusion Therapy

For a patient to start receiving at home intravenous therapy, the following steps must typically occur:

– A referral is made by the primary care doctor or specialist to a home infusion provider following diagnosis or change in treatment plan requiring IV therapy.

– The home infusion provider evaluates if the patient is a suitable candidate based on their condition and ability to self-administer or have assistance.

– Approval for home infusion services is obtained from the patient’s health insurance provider.

– A nurse from the home infusion agency visits to train the patient or caregivers on equipment use, site care and self-administration.

– The nurse establishes permanent or temporary vascular access like a port or catheter if needed.

– The necessary equipment like infusion pumps, supplies and backup arrangements are provided to the home.

– Treatment is initiated remotely or via nurse home visits and monitored by the infusion nurses.

– Patients receive follow-up support by phone from nurses during treatment and in-person visits as required.

Suitable Patients and Lifestyle Considerations

Home infusion works best for patients who:

– Have a stable medical condition and are clinically suitable for outpatient therapy.

– Have a stable home environment and adequate assistance/caregiver support at home.

– Are physically and cognitively able to manage self-care tasks with guidance or have caregiver availability.

– Have reliable access to emergency services and transportation if issues arise.

– Understand treatment demands and are able to adhere to schedules, hygiene and other protocols.

– Consent to periodic home nursing visits and remote monitoring by the home infusion team.

While home infusion affords greater independence, it requires patients and families to adapt to treatment demands and medical equipment in their daily lives. Support groups may help those facing an adjustment period. With proper education and support networks, most patients are able to successfully receive home infusion therapy.

Benefits of Early Discharge with Home Infusion

For some conditions, starting infusion treatments earlier at home following discharge can aid recovery and lower costs. Research shows early discharge with home infusion:

– Reduces risks of hospital-acquired infections and Length of Stay (LOS) costs. On average LOS can be 6 days shorter.

– Speeds functional recovery through earlier mobilization and return to everyday routines and responsibilities.

– Lowers readmission rates by 10-20% versus later initiation of outpatient infusion therapies.

– Improves treatment compliance and adherence to medical guidance in the comfort of home.

– Provides stable, consistent care delivery without disruption that may occur from scheduling limitations in hospital or outpatient clinic settings.

Overall, home infusion therapy is a worthwhile option to consider for numerous medical conditions requiring weeks or months of IV treatment. When managed properly with support, it offers clinical efficacy on par with facility-based care while improving quality of life through increased convenience, comfort and normalcy for patients.

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  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it