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What is Infusion Pharmacy?

Infusion therapy is the administration of intravenous medication to patients who have severe conditions that cannot effectively be treated by oral medications. Drug therapies that are commonly administered through the veins include antivirals, antibiotics, antifungals, immunoglobulins, antibody medications, and saline fluids.

What is home infusion therapy?

Home infusion therapy is the administration of intravenous medication to patients in their own homes. Small portable pumps that deliver medication through an IV line make it possible for many patients to receive their medication in the comfort of their own homes. Home administration is possible for antibiotics, antifungals, and antiviral medications. Care can be provided by the patient, friends/family, or trained nursing staff, but is overseen by trained pharmacists, dieticians, nurses, and home health professionals.

Some of the advantages of home infusion therapy include:

        • Reduced costs
        • Preferred treatment
        • Safety
        • Convenience

Why are infusions performed at home?

For many patients, the ability to return home to resume normal life and activities is a preferential option. Due to technological advances, home infusion therapy has been proven to be a safe and effective alternative to inpatient care and can save patients money.

What other appropriate options exist for infusion therapy in addition to a patient's home?

Patients can shorten their stays at hospitals or nursing homes by opting to do infusion therapy either in their own homes or in ambulatory infusion centers.

A number of home infusion therapy providers also operate their own Ambulatory Infusion Suite, or AIS for short. At the AIS, clinical care that is provided in accordance with a physician’s orders is both monitored and performed by registered nurses and pharmacists, who are very skilled in infusion/specialty drug administration.

The AIS is one of three different kinds of Ambulatory Infusion Centers (AICs):

        • Ambulatory Infusion Suite of the home infusion therapy provider (AIS)
        • Physician-based infusion clinic
        • Hospital-based infusion clinic

What services, supplies, and equipment are necessary to ensure high quality care?

The infusion pharmacy ensures that infusion drugs are:

        • Prepared in a sterile environment and maintained at appropriate conditions to ensure no risk of contamination.
        • Administered at the correct dose at the correct time.
        • Administered using the appropriate devices to ensure proper drug delivery.
        • Flushed with the necessary flushing solution in between doses.
        • Monitored for adverse reactions and therapeutic efficacy.

In addition, infusion pharmacies provide many professional services – patient assessment and admission, education and training, care planning and coordination, care management, trouble-shooting, and treatment plan oversight, among others – which are all pivotal in achieving the best possible outcomes for patients receiving infusion therapy.

Moreover, specialized equipment (like infusion pumps and poles) as well as administration supplies (IV sets, syringes, etc.) are essential in maintaining the highest quality care. The pharmacy supplies the patient and services the equipment when necessary.

What professional services are performed by infusion pharmacies?

In order to ensure that infusion drugs are administered both safely and properly, infusion pharmacies provide the following services:

        • A detailed assessment that includes a patient’s history, current physical and mental status, lab reports, cognitive and psychosocial status, family/care partner support, prescribed treatment, concurrent oral prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications.
        • Performance of appropriate procedures in sterile infusion drug compounding and distribution, in accordance to national standards and state and federal regulations.
        • Monitoring any possible drug interactions as well as the efficacy of drugs, dosage, and the drug catheter.
        • In-depth admission procedures that include patient education of equipment use, proper medication storage and handling, emergency procedures, vascular access device management, and the recognition and reporting of adverse drug reactions.
        • Complete care planning that takes into consideration any potential drug/equipment problems, therapy monitoring and the establishment of specific patient goals, and coordination of activities with home health agencies and physicians.
        • Continual patient monitoring and reassessment activities in order to assess treatment response, any possible drug complications, adverse reactions, and patient compliance.
        • Laboratory report reviews and consults with health professionals to make any necessary adjustments.
        • Maintenance of suitable facilities for the storage, preparation, dispensing, and quality control of all infusion medications and equipment.
        • Continuous employee education and competence validation.
        • Performance improvement programs, such as the collection of data related to clinical outcomes and patient perceptions, data analysis, and data evaluation.

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