Infusion Therapy FAQs: What You Need to KnowSpecialty Infusion Blog
Are you or a loved one looking into infusion therapy? You’ve come to the right place! We are not simply a revolving door for treatments, to us our patients are so much more.
Immediately upon entering a Specialty Infusion Center you will find yourself in a warm, comfortable environment surrounded by the best staff in the industry. To us, there is nothing more important than the comfort and safety of our patients. That’s why we’ve put together this guide for those who may be brand new to infusion therapy or considering making the switch from their current provider. We’re here to answer your questions, and if you don’t see yours covered below feel free to give us a call anytime during business hours.
What is Infusion Therapy?
Infusion therapy is a medical treatment that involves the administration of medication or fluids directly into a patient’s bloodstream through a vein or catheter. The therapy is usually performed in a hospital or clinic setting and can also be done at home with the help of a trained healthcare professional.
Infusion therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions, such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, infections, dehydration, and other chronic and acute illnesses. The medication or fluids are delivered at a controlled rate, and the dosage and frequency of the treatment are determined by the patient’s medical condition and response to the therapy.
Overall, infusions can help manage symptoms, reduce the need for hospitalization, and improve the quality of life for patients with various medical conditions.
How is Infusion Therapy Administered?
Infusion therapy can be administered through various routes, including intravenous (IV) infusion, subcutaneous infusion, epidural infusion, or intraosseous infusion. The choice of the route depends on the medication being administered and the patient’s medical needs.
Intravenous (IV) infusion is the most common route of administration for infusion therapy. It involves the insertion of a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into a vein, usually in the arm or hand. The catheter is then connected to an IV bag or pump, which delivers the medication or fluid directly into the bloodstream at a controlled rate.
Additional Infusion Methods for Your Reference:
While these are not offered by Specialty Infusion Centers, we like to include all information for our current and potential patients.
Subcutaneous infusion involves the administration of medication or fluid into the tissue under the skin, usually in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. The medication or fluid is delivered through a small, portable pump or a prefilled syringe, which is inserted into a small needle or cannula placed under the skin.
Epidural infusion involves the administration of medication into the epidural space, which is the area around the spinal cord. This route of administration is commonly used for pain management during childbirth or surgery.
Intraosseous infusion involves the administration of medication or fluid directly into the bone marrow, usually in an emergency situation when other routes of administration are not feasible.
Regardless of the route of administration, this therapy is usually performed in a hospital or clinic setting and requires the expertise of a trained healthcare professional.
What are the Benefits of Infusion Therapy?
Infusion therapy is a medical treatment in which medication, fluids, or nutrients are delivered directly into a patient’s bloodstream through a vein. Some of the benefits of infusion therapy include:
- More effective treatment: Infusion therapy is often more effective than other types of treatment because it allows medications to bypass the digestive system and directly enter the bloodstream. This means that the medication can work faster and more efficiently.
- Faster relief: Infusions can provide faster relief for patients with acute conditions such as dehydration, infections, and severe pain, or flares caused by chronic illnesses.
- Reduced side effects: By delivering medication directly into the bloodstream, infusions can reduce the risk of side effects associated with oral medications. It also allows for more precise dosing.
- Increased convenience: Infusion therapy can be administered in a hospital, clinic, or at home, depending on the patient’s needs. This makes it a convenient option for patients who require long-term treatment.
- Improved quality of life: Infusion therapy can improve a patient’s quality of life by providing relief from symptoms, reducing hospital stays, and allowing for more independence in daily activities.
Is Chemotherapy and Infusion Therapy the Same?
No, chemotherapy and infusion therapy are not the same thing, although chemotherapy is one type of infusion therapy.
Infusion therapy is a type of medical treatment that involves delivering medication or fluids directly into a vein, through an IV (intravenous) line. This therapy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including infections, immune system disorders, dehydration, and cancer.
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses powerful drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is administered through an IV line, and it is typically given in cycles of treatment followed by a period of rest. Chemotherapy can also be given orally, as a pill or liquid. So, while chemotherapy can be a type of infusion, not all infusion therapy involves chemotherapy. Other types of include intravenous antibiotics, biologics, blood transfusions, and hydration therapy. This therapy can be used to treat numerous conditions aside from cancer. See the next section for a list of examples.
What Conditions can be Treated with Infusion Therapy?
Infusion therapy can be used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including:
- Cancer: Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments are often delivered through infusion therapy.
- Infections: Antibiotics and antifungal medications can be administered to treat serious infections.
- Immune disorders: Infusion therapy can be used to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.
- Gastrointestinal disorders: Patients with inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis may receive infusions to manage their symptoms.
- Dehydration: Intravenous (IV) fluids can be given to treat dehydration.
- Pain management: Infusion therapy can be used to manage chronic pain conditions such as migraines, fibromyalgia, and complex regional pain syndrome.
- Nutritional deficiencies: Patients who cannot eat or absorb nutrients through their digestive system may receive total parenteral nutrition (TPN) via IV.
- Blood disorders: Infusion therapy can be used to treat blood disorders such as hemophilia and sickle cell anemia.
These are just a few examples of conditions that can be treated with infusion therapy. Your doctor can determine if infusion therapy is an appropriate treatment option for your specific medical condition.
What are the Side Effects of Infusion Therapy?
Like any medical treatment, infusion therapy can have potential side effects. However, the specific side effects can vary depending on the type of medication or fluid being administered and the individual patient’s medical history. Some possible side effects may include:
- Infection: There is a risk of infection at the injection site. This risk can be minimized by following proper sterilization procedures.
- Allergic reaction: Some patients may experience an allergic reaction to the medication being administered. This can cause symptoms such as hives, rash, itching, difficulty breathing, or anaphylaxis.
- Nausea and vomiting: Some medications can cause nausea and vomiting.
- Fever and chills: Patients may experience fever and chills as a side effect of certain medications.
- Headache: Headaches are a common side effect.
- Low blood pressure: Some medications can cause a drop in blood pressure, which can cause dizziness or fainting.
- Electrolyte imbalances: Infusion therapy can alter the levels of electrolytes in the body, which can cause symptoms such as muscle cramps, weakness, or confusion. If you suspect you may have an electrolyte imbalance, talk to your doctor about the best course of action for you.
It is important to talk to your doctor about any potential side effects before starting treatment. Your doctor can monitor you closely for any adverse reactions and take steps to manage any side effects that may arise.
How Long Does Infusion Therapy Take?
IV infusion therapy can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the medication being administered and the patient’s response to the therapy. The length of time can vary depending on the specific medication being administered, the condition being treated, and the individual patient’s needs. Some patients may require daily or weekly treatments, while others may only require infusions every few months.
In general, the length of the session will depend on factors such as the dosage of medication being administered, the patient’s age, weight, and overall health, and the patient’s response to the treatment. For example, a patient receiving intravenous antibiotics may only require a short infusion session, while a patient receiving chemotherapy may require a longer session.
The healthcare provider administering the IV therapy will monitor the patient closely during the session to ensure that the medication is being delivered properly and that the patient is not experiencing any adverse reactions. They will also provide instructions on how to care for the injection site after the session and when the patient can resume normal activities.
What is the Cost of Infusion Therapy?
The cost of infusion therapy can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the type of medication being administered, the length of the session, the frequency of the sessions, and the healthcare provider administering the treatment.
The cost can also depend on whether the patient is receiving their therapy in a hospital, clinic, or at home. Infusion therapy administered in a hospital or clinic setting may be more expensive due to the overhead costs of the facility, while at-home therapy may have additional costs associated with home healthcare services. Often these costs can be high.
Insurance coverage can also affect the cost of infusion therapy. Some insurance plans may cover part or all of the cost of infusion therapy, while others may have high deductibles or co-payments. Additionally, some insurance plans may only cover therapy in a clinic setting and reject paying for in-home therapy.
In general, the cost of infusion therapy can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per session. It is important to check with your healthcare provider and insurance company to understand the cost of your specific treatment and what expenses may be covered. Financial assistance programs may also be available to help cover the cost of infusion therapy for patients who cannot afford it. If you need financial co-pay assistance, please feel free to call us any time and we will be happy to look into your options.
Does Insurance Cover Infusion Therapy?
Insurance coverage for infusion therapy can vary depending on the type of insurance plan and the specific treatment being administered. However, many insurance plans do cover infusion therapy as a medically necessary treatment option. Insurance will not cover elective infusions, such as vitamin or hydration IV’s from a walk-in or at-home wellness center.
Some insurance plans may require prior authorization, meaning that the healthcare provider must obtain approval from the insurance company before administering the treatment. The insurance company may require documentation to demonstrate that the treatment is medically necessary and that other treatment options have been tried and found ineffective.
It is important for patients to review their insurance plan and understand their specific coverage. This can include understanding the deductible, co-payments, and any out-of-pocket costs. Patients should also be aware of any restrictions or limitations on the number of treatments or the frequency of the treatments covered by their insurance plan.
Patients who do not have insurance coverage for infusion therapy or who have high out-of-pocket costs may be eligible for financial assistance programs. These programs may be offered by pharmaceutical companies, non-profit organizations, or government agencies to help cover the cost of treatment for eligible patients. Our staff is equipped to help you navigate all of these options and more.
Check out our ‘What to Expect’ page for further details on how we will work with your insurance company on your behalf and give excellent care once you arrive. We strive to make every part of the process as stress-free and comfortable as possible.
Does Medicare Cover Outpatient Infusion Therapy?
Yes, Medicare does cover outpatient infusion therapy, but coverage may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the patient’s condition and the type of medication(s) needed.
Medicare Part B covers medically necessary outpatient services, including some types of infusion therapy, when they are administered by a Medicare-approved healthcare provider. (Specialty Infusion accepts Medicare.) Infusion therapy must be ordered by a healthcare provider, and the provider must also document the medical necessity of the treatment. Medicare Part B also covers the necessary drugs and supplies used during infusion therapy.
However, there may be certain limitations and conditions to Medicare coverage for outpatient infusion therapy. For example, some medications may not be covered by Medicare, and patients may need to pay a portion of the cost through coinsurance or copayment.
With that being said, if you are reading this then you are most likely already aware how confusing it can be to try and navigate this process on your own. We want you to know that you are never alone when you work with Specialty Infusion Centers. Our dedicated staff will work with your insurance to make sure you get the lowest co-pay possible according to your plan coverage.
How Often do You Need Infusion Therapy?
The frequency of infusion therapy depends on the specific condition being treated and the individual patient’s response to treatment. Some patients may require infusion therapy on a daily or weekly basis, while others may require infusions less frequently.
For example, patients receiving intravenous antibiotics may only need a few days to treat an infection, while patients receiving intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) for an autoimmune disorder may require regular infusions every few weeks or months.
The administering healthcare provider will monitor the patient’s response to treatment and adjust the frequency and dosage of the medication as needed. They will also provide instructions on how to care for the injection site and any potential side effects of the treatment.
It is important for patients to follow their healthcare provider’s instructions and attend all scheduled treatment sessions to ensure the best possible outcomes for their condition.
What Should I Expect During an Infusion Therapy Session?
If you didn’t take a moment to check out our ‘What to Expect’ page earlier in this article, be sure to visit. This page covers everything you can expect when you arrive at a Specialty Infusion Center. During an infusion therapy session, the patient will typically be seated in one of our very comfortable chairs and provided with all the comforts of home including drinks, snacks, and a tablet or TV for streaming your favorite shows and movies. We recommend you bring a personal blanket if you’d like one for extra warmth during your infusion therapy sessions.
The healthcare provider will prepare the infusion site, which may be a vein in the arm, hand, or other part of the body. The provider will then insert a needle into the vein and attach a tube to the needle, which is used to deliver the medication. The medication is typically administered slowly over a period of time, and the provider will monitor the patient closely for any adverse reactions.
The length of the infusion therapy session can vary depending on the medication being administered and the patient’s individual needs. Some sessions may last only a few minutes, while others may last several hours.
During the session, patients may experience some discomfort or pain at the infusion site, but this should be temporary and can be managed with medication or other interventions. Patients should also inform their healthcare provider if they experience any other symptoms, such as nausea, headache, or dizziness.
After the infusion therapy session is complete, the healthcare provider will remove the needle and provide instructions on how to care for the injection site. Patients should also be aware of any potential side effects of the treatment and how to manage them.
It is important for patients to attend all scheduled infusion therapy sessions and to communicate openly with their healthcare providers about any concerns or questions they may have. Should you have questions between you appointments feel free to give us a call. We’re always happy to provide resources and support.