A chronic illness diagnosis can cause many disruptions in life: independence, activity level, physical appearance, finances to name a few. The adjustment can be difficult and challenging in many ways, but there are powerful coping tools to provide help with the new journey.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help
According to the Cleveland Clinic, “up to one-third of individuals with a serious medical condition have symptoms of depression.” You are not alone and there are many resources and outlets available to help, including, but not limited to, some of the below suggestions.
Your loved ones want to help, so it can be productive to be open with how you’re feeling and what you need in the moment. Often times, those closest to you want to help but don’t know how. Open communication can decrease frustration and allow your loved ones to help you in the best way for you.
Accept and feel all of your emotions, even the “negative” ones. Check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling and why and then give yourself permission to sit with those feelings while you process. Be kind and patient with yourself, as there is no rule book or “right way” to cope.
An extremely powerful tool and outlet can be:
- Support groups
Any of these avenues create safe spaces to share and explore how you’re feeling while navigating your chronic illness and creating healthy coping mechanisms. If you’re interested in counseling, Psychology Today can help you find qualified, licensed psychotherapists and mental health counselors.
Exercises & Practices
In general, life can feel overwhelming. To add coping with a chronic illness on top of all of other’s life stressors can feel heavy. Adopting some practices throughout the day to slow things down, gain perspective, and prioritize can be helpful.
Meditating is a powerful tool to become more attentive to the present, while becoming mentally clear and emotionally calm. Harvard University discusses the physiological benefits of meditation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (helps us recover from stress) and quieting the sympathetic nervous system (prepares body to react to stress).
Another tool to cope with chronic illness is to increase physical activity, as permitted. Healthline confirms the release of endorphins or “feel good hormones” after exercise. While dependent on how you feel physically from your chronic illness, even low impact exercises, such as walking or stretching, can make a difference.
Journaling can be another outlet to helping cope with chronic illness. Journaling is a safe space to step back and evaluate your thoughts, emotions, and behavior. According to Psychology Today, journaling facilitates exploring solutions, converts negative energy into positivity and growth, lowers your emotional reactivity to others, helps see other people’s perspective, and makes you feel more humane.
Lastly, a renowned researcher, Dr. Brené Brown says that practicing gratitude makes us “more willing to slow down and really be thankful for the joyful moments.” She goes on to share that people who are the most resilient and “have the capacity to lean fully into joy have one variable in common: they practice gratitude”.
The above are merely suggestions to trial and see what works best for you. Everyone is is different and there is no one-size-fits-all to coping with chronic illness. Be true and kind to yourself and honor whatever it is that you need.
Whether you get infusions every 2 weeks or 6 months, we have a few suggestions to help your treatment go as smoothly as possible.
Before Your Infusion
Be sure to drink plenty of water the day before and the morning of your infusion. According to Hemaware Magazine, “When the body is properly hydrated, veins become more dilated.” Staying hydrated will help your nurse or nurse practitioner nail that IV insertion on the first try.
What You Can Wear
There are a few attire guidelines we recommend:
- Wear comfortable clothes, since your infusion can take between thirty minutes to six hours.
- Dress in a short sleeve shirt—or a shirt with sleeves that are easy to roll up—to make IV placement easier.
- Dress in layers in case you get hot or cold.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 we are no longer able to provide blankets and pillows during treatments. We suggest that you bring your own for maximum comfort.
How to Pass the Time During Your Treatment
Infusions can take a significant amount of time, so we recommend to bring entertainment. Some patients bring books to read, while others watch Netflix on their phones. At Specialty Infusion Centers, we have iPads and flat screens TVs for Netflix.
And while we have snacks and drinks on-site at Specialty Infusion Centers, you may also bring your own food or beverage.
Remember, Specialty Infusion Centers speaks with your insurance company before your appointment to get prior authorization. This way, you can relax during your infusion and feel confident that Specialty Infusion Centers has you covered.
With these recommendations in mind, you can always count on Specialty Infusion Centers for a pleasant and safe experience.
You, the patient, is as vital of a member of your healthcare team as your doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. There are many tools to take control of chronic illness that have always been important, but even more so now. Now is the time to develop and double down on healthy habits to help weather the storm of a pandemic.
The best tool we recommend to take control of your chronic illness amidst a pandemic is to be proactive.
Staying on top of all aspects of your chronic illness, from contacting your provider to getting your medication, will help set you up for succes. Such as:
- Find out in advance if you need more refills or an updated prior authorization to avoid medication delays. It may take longer to get a hold of your provider to send a refill to the pharmacy or get a hold of your insurance for a new prior authorization during a pandemic. Initiate these conversations early so you can get your medication on time.
- Schedule your medications to be picked up at the same time to decrease the number of trips to the pharmacy and the need to leave your home.
- Contact your insurance company and inquire if a 90 day supply of medication is covered. If so, you can pick up all your meds at once for three months, further decreasing the number of trips to the pharmacy.
- Confirm your infusion center’s operating hours and if they are still open. If you decide to move centers, initiate the transfer early to avoid potential delays in treatment.
- Stay on your regimen. The regimen decided by you and provider to get you stable will keep you stable. Speak with your doctor about any medication concerns and do not stop a medication without speaking to them first.
- Avoid known triggers. Avoiding triggers that exacerbate your chronic illness can help prevent unwanted visits to emergency rooms or urgent cares.
According to Psychology Today, habits take 66 days — not 21 days that is commonly believed — to form. The increased down time during quarantine can help solidify these habits and ensure smooth sailing for dealing with your chronic illness.
Shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing. These are symptoms of asthma that can add an additional layer of difficulty to everyday tasks. From chores around the house to getting in that recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week, how can those with asthma get tasks and workouts accomplished when something as vital as breathing is compromised? Here are ways to be active with asthma.
Know When to Push Yourself – and When to Pull Back
It can be challenging and frustrating to have the desire to be active but not be able to due to an underlying condition. However, you can still get your body moving.
Being both opportunistic and realistic when programming a workout can be beneficial in determining and meeting fitness goals. Tailoring your workouts based on how you feel each day can help you push yourself on an appropriate level.
On days where symptoms feel at bay are the times to try a more intense workout. However, on days where symptoms are more bothersome, we suggest listening to your body and taking it easy. It could be beneficial to try a more low-impact activity, such as walking or stretching.
While requiring some flexibility with workout planning and compassion for yourself, it is possible to stay active even through the unpredictability of asthma symptoms.
According to the American Lung Association, here are some recommendations for workouts:
- Include warm-up and cool-down periods in your workout
- Cover your nose and mouth with a scarf when exercising outdoors in cold temperatures
- Limit exercise or strenuous activities outdoors when the air quality is unhealthy (orange) and avoid outdoor activities when the air quality is red, purple or maroon.
You Can Still Be Active — Even During a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for all aspects of our lives, including exercising. Although people have to social distance, you and your workouts don’t have to stay apart. There are still plenty of ways to still be active.
For example, at-home workouts are a socially distant alternative to help reach your fitness goals and benefit your health. Beachbody and Fitbit Coach are two great options that can assist with exercise anywhere.
If you need some extra motivation and connection, workouts can still be done with friends—virtually. FaceTiming a friend as you both go for a walk outside or doing your workouts together can make exercising more fun and create accountability. These are just a few of the creative ways to stay connected and in shape.
Have Your Rescue Inhaler Ready
No matter what level of activity you decide feels right for you, it is highly recommended to keep your rescue inhaler ready at all times. According to Healthline, a rescue inhaler can relieve or stop the symptoms of an asthma attack. So, be sure to have it close during your workouts.
Interestingly, eight percent of the 2016 Olympians live with asthma, so you can still be the athlete you want to be. (This is the same percentage of US citizens who have asthma.)
While challenging at times, it is still possible to have an active lifestyle with asthma. Something is better than nothing, so just be proud of yourself getting moving!
Many infusion therapies must take place in a medical facility like the hospital outpatient department, specialist provider office, or ambulatory infusion center. In some cases, certain therapies may also be administered in the home with the supervision of a home infusion nurse. Depending on a variety of dynamics, a physician may recommend receiving infusions in an outpatient setting – such as an ambulatory infusion center – and home infusion at other times.
Every patient’s situation is different. Understanding the benefits and challenges of both options will help give you additional perspective when consulting with your physician which site of care is right for you.
Ambulatory Infusion Center
- Fully equipped medical facility to handle any reactions or medical needs with emergency protocols for all medications
- Lack standard protocols for home infusion nurses
- Highly skilled clinical team that specializes in infusion and injection therapy
- Continuation of care with a nurse that knows your case
- Agency nurses may not be designated infusion nurses, experts in IV placement (multiple sticks), or know proper medication mixes
- No continuation of care with a nurse that knows your personal preferences and specific treatment plan
- Strict CDC cleanliness protocols that guarantee a sterile and safe environment
- Increased infection risk because nurses move from house to house without showering between visits or changing shoes to prevent bringing in germs outside into patients’ homes
- No ability to properly sanitize the area according to CDC protocols
|Flexible Scheduling & Case Manager Support
- Handle all insurance authorizations from start to finish with periodic updates on your referral status and information on co-pay assistance plans.
- Flexible scheduling and extended hours, including weekends.
- Never a wait time–always ready when you arrive
- We take care of all specialty pharmacy medication coordination
- Patients coordinate medication delivery
- Medication deliveries and/or nurses may be late, causing significant delays to your treatment
- Enroll and consult patients about co-pay assistance and financial assistance programs to reduce out-of-pocket costs
- Not offered in most cases
- Private and semi-private chairs and suites
- Inviting a stranger into your home for medical treatment can be awkward and make your home feel less safe
|Snacks & Entertainment
- WiFi, iPads and Netflix with complimentary refreshments
- Accept all major insurances
The Specialty Infusion Centers Difference
While home infusions may seem like the easiest option for you, there are many variables to consider. Choosing an ambulatory infusion center like Specialty Infusion Centers saves you a lot of unnecessary worry, and provides a world-class treatment experience. Located in communities where people live and work, Specialty Infusion Centers serve those with complex chronic conditions by delivering high-quality personalized care in a comfortable, private setting so patients can continue to live their best lives.
There are many ways to get infusion therapy, so how do you know which one is best for you? Here’s how you can get a better understanding of your choices—in only a few minutes!
Watch our foundation partner, the National Infusion Center Association’s video to learn:
- What are the four settings for infusion treatments?
- How to weigh the risks and rewards of each option?
- Which of the choices is the most cost-effective for you?
Watch the Attached Video for Helpful Information
At Specialty Infusion Centers, we understand the challenges that are associated with navigating chronic illness and are here to make this a stress-free process from start to finish. Our coordination and clinical team are here to support you with every step, so all you have to do is come to your appointment.
Before we schedule your treatment
We have a team of insurance experts who will advocate on your behalf in the process of initiating or transitioning your treatment to our centers. Your coverage and benefits are thoroughly reviewed to ensure you will have the lowest out of pocket costs possible.
First, your physician will send a prescription, clinical notes, demographics and your insurance card.
Then, you Care Coordinator will contact your insurance company to conduct an investigation of benefits and initiate an authorization to ensure coverage of your treatment.
Our team works diligently to expedite the authorization process and will keep you updated along the way. Once your approval is obtained, your Care Coordinator will contact you to schedule an appointment that works with your schedule.
How to prepare for your treatment?
- Beginning the day before and the day of your infusion be sure to adequately hydrate to make it easier for your nurse practitioner to place your IV.
- Wear short sleeves or a shirt with sleeves that are easy to roll up.
- While we offer snacks and beverages, you may bring your own.
- Complimentary WiFi and iPads are made available.
- For the consideration of all patients, it is important to be on time for your scheduled appointment. If you are delayed, please call or text us at (212) 776-9090 so that we can adjust the schedule.
What to expect during the treatment?
From the moment you sit in our cozy, leather reclining chairs, you can expect a clean, safe, comfortable, and private experience.
After ensuring normal vitals, your nurse practitioner will initiate your IV insertion or injection. Pre-medications will be administrated and labs will be drawn from your IV, if applicable. We offer numbing spray prior to IV insertions, so please let your nurse practitioner know if you would like that applied.
All medications are mixed on-site by your nurse practitioner after IV insertion, bypassing wait times at pharmacies for medication delivery, expediting your infusion.
Vitals will be taken periodically throughout your infusion and your nurse practitioner will monitor you closely for your safety. Time of the infusion is medication specific; it can range from 30 minutes to 5 hours. Injections take a few minutes with a 30-minute monitoring period afterwards.
Once the infusion begins, sit back and relax in a reclining chair with Netflix on the flat screen or on individual iPads and a beverage and snack in hand. The serene environment at Specialty Infusion accommodates all your needs from kicking back with a show or book to getting work done to a midday nap. Our goal is to provide an efficient, stress-free, and pleasant experience.
While uncommon, infusion reactions can occur, your nurse practitioner is expertly trained to treat any kind of infusion reaction and will monitor you closely.
We are always here to help answer any questions, address concerns, and provide a safe and comfortable infusion experience.
After the treatment
Upon completion of your infusion, your nurse practitioner will take a last set of vitals and take out your IV. We recommend maintaining pressure on the dressing to decrease the chance of bruising at the site.
We offer on-site scheduling to keep you on track with your infusion schedule.
After your infusion, there are no contraindications to normal activity, so you may continue your day as usual.
Thank you for trusting Specialty Infusion Centers with your care.
Navigating a chronic illness like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be difficult or overwhelming. IBD is an invisible illness, which may make you feel alone. But just because others don’t see how you deal with it doesn’t mean you’re fighting by yourself.
On May 19, you can prove that by participating in World IBD Day, a day when people worldwide unite in their fight against IBD. So, what is IBD, who does it affect, and how can you honor the holiday?
What are Inflammatory Bowel Diseases?
Inflammatory bowel diseases are an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the intestines, such as Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.
What is World IBD Day and How is it Celebrated?
The European Federation of Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis Associations (ECCFA) coordinated with patient organizations from more than 50 countries and five continents to bring this holiday to life to raise awareness for the people battle against IBD.
And countries around the world participated in this holiday last year to support the fight in unique ways. For example, the Mas Vida Foundation in Argentina placed IBD Awareness stickers on public toilets in Buenos Aires as part of the “Making the Invisible Visible” campaign.
Here in the US, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation will hold their annual Day on the Hill event virtually on May 20. During the event, participants across the nation can speak with their legislator about policies that affect IBD. You can show your support and participate—learn more about the event on their Advocacy Tools & Resources webpage.
Additionally, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is sponsoring the Take Steps virtual event on June 20. During this event, people take steps—safely according to social distancing measures—to raise money to find a cure for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
If you cannot attend either event, you can still show your support! You can wear a purple ribbon, which is being used by associations as a symbol of awareness and support for those who live with IBD. Or you can share your story on social media.
Inspire Others By Sharing Your Story with the World
IBD is an invisible illness that others may not know you’re suffering from, but remember you’re not alone. There are an estimated 3 million Americans and 10 million brave people worldwide with IBD that live a full life. So, on World IBD Day, inspire others by sharing your stories on social media using the following hashtags:
You can tell your followers how you’re fighting back against the disease. Also, you can include helpful tips or lifestyle modifications you made to take control of your life. Posting on social media on World IBD Day empowers you to raise awareness and make IBD visible to the world.
How Specialty Infusion Honors the Holiday
Specialty Infusion Centers is NYC’s premier infusion treatment center, and we not only join the fight against IBD on World IBD Day, but everyday. Our all-encompassing service means that we take care of everything involving your treatments. We contact every patient’s health insurance provider before each and every visit to ensure your treatment is covered. That way, all you have to do is focus on your treatment.
And our centers offer a world-class healthcare experience. At Specialty Infusion, you receive treatment in a private space. This space features iPads, flatscreen TVs, leather reclining chairs, WiFi, beverages, and more. Also, our friendly and accommodating expert staff—with our low nurse-to-patient ratio—is there to provide the personalized care you deserve. All of this helps you have a positive mindset during treatments.
So, remember to participate in World IBD Day on May 19, and that whatever your IBD treatments are, Specialty Infusion can help.