Frequently Asked Questions About Infusion
Now that your physician has prescribed an infusion regimen, you may have several questions about what to expect.
Being prepared and knowing what to expect can help you feel comfortable with the infusion experience. If you have any questions that aren't covered here, speak with your physician or contact your Infusion Center.
An infusion is a standard procedure that delivers medication into your bloodstream. The medication flows from a sterile bag through plastic tubing and a small needle inserted into one of your veins.
A licensed healthcare professional such as a nurse trained to provide infusion therapy will be administering your treatment.
There are several options to choose from. Your doctor can help choose one that's right for you.
- Doctor's Office
- Many physicians have in-office infusion capability. Your doctor may provide this care within their office or refer you to a physician who offers in-house infusion services.
- Hospital Outpatient Department
- Many hospitals provide outpatient services, including infusion therapy. These services may be performed in the hospital or at an off-site location owned by the hospital.
- Freestanding Infusion Center
- These are Infusion Centers located within the community or at some select pharmacy settings.
- Home Infusion Service
- Some medications can be administered by a healthcare professional in your home.
The time of your infusion will vary depending on your prescribed medication. Please speak to your doctor or contact your Infusion Center if you would like more information about your infusion.
Many Infusion Centers may allow you to bring at least one friend or family member to sit with you during your infusion. Contact the facility to learn about any restrictions.
Please contact your doctor or the Infusion Center regarding specific instructions on preparing for your infusion, especially eating or drinking before or during your infusion. Depending on the time and duration of your infusion, you may be directed to eat before you arrive at your infusion location. Your center may provide light snacks and beverages for you, or you can bring your own. You may also have to fast, so make sure to speak with your physician.
Your doctor will be involved with your treatment, but may or may not be physically present at your appointment, depending on where your infusion is being administered. Your infusion is administered by a licensed healthcare professional. If you are going somewhere other than your doctor's office, s/he will be in communication with the center.
As always, see your regular doctor for all your usual check-ins or appointments not involving infusion administration.
Procedures vary depending on where you'll be receiving your infusion, but there are things you may expect:
- You may be asked to arrive early to complete any registration or other paperwork.
- Your healthcare provider will perform a general assessment of health and vital signs such as blood pressure.
- You may be given medication to help lessen any potential infusion reactions.
- The appropriate dose of your medication will be calculated using information from your vital signs, such as your weight.
- Your arm or hand will be prepared. The needle will be inserted and held in place with tape.
- Your vital signs will be monitored regularly.
Many locations offer televisions and magazines to help pass the time. Here are some ideas you may also want to consider:
- Use the time to relax. Take a nap.
- Listen to music on your mp3 player (be sure to bring headphones).
- Watch a movie on a portable DVD player (be sure to bring headphones).
- Catch up on some reading.
- Do a crossword puzzle, word search, etc.
- Work on your laptop—many infusion centers offer free Wi-Fi access.