When you have been diagnosed with cancer or any type of chronic illness, you may have worries or concerns about being in the hospital. Although hospitalization may be initially indicated to get you stabilized, outpatient treatment may be an option for you at an Infusion Center. Infusion centers offer medical care by registered nurses, many of whom are certified in specialty areas. You can get the same compassionate care, and then head home to sleep in your own bed.
Infusion centers perform midline and PICC insertions. A PICC line is a peripherally inserted central catheter, which means it is placed in the arm, but dwells in the basilic vein, which leads directly to the heart. A midline catheter is the same concept, but it is placed in the cephalic vein. Both of these IVs are for long term use. They have to be placed by physicians or specially trained nurses because of the invasive nature of having a catheter dwelling in a central vein. They are much sturdier than a traditional peripheral IV, and allow for vesicants to be infused.
Vesicants are medications like chemotherapy that would cause harm to a smaller peripheral vein, but when infused into a larger central vein, they won’t cause any damage. This allows the patient to receive the chemotherapy without being stuck multiple times for an IV and without causing damage to the vein. The dressings are typically changed weekly or more frequently when soiled, which is a sterile procedure.
Infusion centers perform blood draws to check complete blood counts, comprehensive metabolic panels, and any other tests ordered by the physician. They can manage blood transfusions if needed. Cancer patients are prone to infection, so IV antibiotic therapy is done at infusion centers. They can give injections when needed, followed by proper monitoring.
Patients who are candidates for an Infusion Center are typically medically stable. The current disease state is at a point where it can be treated in an outpatient setting, and there should be no increased risk to getting treatment in an outpatient setting. It must be a medically necessary treatment with no other possible delivery routes. Hospitals like Missouri Delta Medical Center offer outpatient therapy so you can get on with your life, even when you’re sick. Your doctor will discuss your options with you so you can agree on a plan and whether an Infusion Center is right for you.
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