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The transition from a hospital, doctor’s office, or infusion site-based care to home infusion is a welcome change for those struggling to manage their treatment schedules and their personal lives. However, while you may be an expert at navigating your standard infusion therapy, home infusion may bring on a slew of unexpected considerations. So, today we’re explaining what patients can expect when starting home infusion for the first time and how they can prepare.

1. Supplies

Infusion therapy always requires a lot of supplies; bags, bottles, tubes, poles, alcohol swabs, needles, the list goes on. At an infusion center, a patient would hardly notice; however, in a home, these supplies can take up a lot of space and even get lost in the shuffle. In preparation for your home infusion, consider designating an area for your infusion supplies and keep any supplies your infusion nurse doesn’t travel with in a secure space. Proper organization will help keep things in order and ensure that you are ready for your sessions.

You should also pay attention to the storage instructions listed on your medications, as some medicines need to be stored at specific temperatures. Again, this is another reason to keep your supplies organized and accounted for in your home.

2. Accessibility

For some patients, receiving your infusions at home will grant you the freedom to move around your house during sessions and accomplish other tasks. While this is a significant upgrade from being chair-bound in an infusion center or hospital, you will likely still need a pole to hold your IV. For homes with many stairs or areas that are not easily accessible, this can be an issue. So, before beginning your treatment, ensure that all areas of your home that you will need to reach during your treatment are accessible with the IV pole.

If your home is not accessible with your IV pole, consult with your physician and see if you qualify for a pump. A pump is a portable device that can administer your medication and allow you to move more freely. With a pump, patients can complete most daily tasks while receiving their treatment.

3. Infusion Nurse

A home infusion nurse will act as your guide through the home infusion process. During your first few visits, your infusion nurse will walk you through the process and monitor you for any reactions to your medication. Depending on the patient and treatment, nurses may not have to visit patients as frequently, and eventually, patients may be able to deliver their own treatment.

While you may not need the aid of your infusion nurse for long, it’s essential to know that our ContinuumRx team consists of on-call nurses, clinicians, and pharmacists that are just a phone call away in case you run into any issues during treatment. If you are not confident with administering your medication for any reason, an infusion nurse will promptly travel to your home to help.

4. Flexibility

We don’t have to tell you about the flexibility that home infusion provides patients. However, you might not consider the positive impact it can have on families. Receiving infusion therapy at a hospital, doctor’s office, or infusion center is expensive and inconvenient for most. In addition, if a family member is driving a patient to and from infusions, this can be time-consuming for everyone and impact your family’s personal lives as well as your own.

By beginning home infusion treatment, your time will feel like yours again. Rather than spending hours in a hospital wishing you had remembered to bring your laptop or tablet along, you can be comfortable at home, and your family can resume their regular daily routines.

Are you interested in home infusion? At ContinuumRx, we’ve been in the business for over twenty years, helping our patients get the care they need in the most convenient way possible. Our skilled team will travel to your home to deliver your infusion at a time that works around your schedule. Learn more about our services by clicking below!

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How a Healthy Lifestyle Can Contribute to Improved Health In Patients Receiving Infusion Therapy

It’s no secret that proper nutrition and healthy habits such as exercise can contribute to long-term health. This is true for nearly all people, especially those treated with infusion therapy. However, changing a patient’s nutritional habits and adding exercise into their routines are concepts that are often overlooked when it comes to treatment plans. While exercising and eating well can seldom reverse a diagnosis, they can work with your infusion therapy to improve overall health. Today, we’re exploring some ways you can incorporate healthy habits into your treatment plan.

Nutrition

You know the basics, five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day, twenty-five to thirty-five grams of fiber per day, so on and so forth. However, these nutrition rules do not include the specific needs of certain infusion patients and, therefore, can leave them in the dark about what proper nutrition should look like for their condition. For example, while a person with no underlying conditions can include starchy vegetables in their diet, patients with diabetes should avoid starchy vegetables to keep blood sugar levels low.

All infusion patients need to know how to eat correctly for their condition, and the best way to learn is to consult one’s physician. However, patients can also research on their own through accredited nutritional sources such as The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the United States Department of Agriculture’s nutrition website. Both of these websites provide accurate and helpful information about healthy eating.

Physical Activity

According to the Mayo Clinic, most individuals should aim for thirty minutes of exercise or physical movement per day. Regular physical activity has been proven to reduce stress, improve health, and prevent disease. In addition, by incorporating physical activity into their treatment plan, patients can even lessen the severity of their symptoms. For example, as stated in an article by the Case Managers Society of America, “…breaking up sedentary time (such as screen time) further decreases the risk of pre-diabetes being converted to diabetes.”

BreastCancer.org also stated in a recent article that although exercising while undergoing chemotherapy treatment may be difficult, it can help ease some side effects like fatigue and nausea. Of course, while this is all convincing enough for one to start an exercise program, it’s important to note that beginning long, strenuous exercise is not sustainable and could harm the patient more than help. Therefore, patients should start slowly by incorporating thirty-minute walks into their day and as they gain more strength and endurance, add onto this routine.

While it may feel challenging to switch to healthier habits, making healthier choices is simple if your infusion schedule has more flexibility. At ContinuumRx, we’ll deliver your infusion therapy from home at a time that’s convenient for you. Or you can visit us at one of our comfortable infusion suites where patients are promptly infused; no waiting rooms. Contact us to find a location near you!

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How Patients Can Find Relief with ContinuumRx

When people hear the term “Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA),” they often think of a condition that affects the joints. However, RA affects various other body systems as well, including the eyes, lungs, skin, and heart. RA is classified as an autoimmune disorder, and it’s estimated that 0.24% to 1% of the global population has RA. The condition can be uncomfortable, even painful. However, oral medications and infusion therapy can significantly help relieve symptoms.

At ContinuumRx, our mission is to provide simplified, convenient care through our infusion services. So, we’re looking at RA as a whole and sharing educational information about this condition and its treatments.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

RA is a condition where the immune system attacks the body’s healthy joint tissue. While the exact cause is still unknown, it is believed that an inherited gene is the likely reason. However, other factors can trigger this gene’s malfunction, such as age, weight, smoking, and infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, even gender has been thought to play a role as women are more likely than men to develop the condition.

In most cases, RA symptoms begin to present themselves around middle age. Although this is the most common, it’s important to note that RA can happen at any age. However, the previously mentioned factors can trigger RA symptoms sooner rather than later.

What Treatments are Available for RA?

When beginning treatment for RA, physicians often start patients on oral medication. However, while oral medication has been proven effective in treating RA, it’s simply not enough for some patients. In these cases, infusion therapy is often the best course of treatment. 

During infusion, RA patients will receive a biologic medication injected directly into a vein. While treatment may take some time for patients to see the benefits, patients may receive their infusion less frequently once the treatment has fully set in. The type of biologic infusion therapy received will be decided by the patient and their doctor.

How Can ContinuumRx Help?

Infusion therapy is generally considered a convenient method of care since patients have the potential for infrequent treatment versus daily oral medication. However, if patients are receiving infusion therapy in a doctor’s office or hospital, the travel costs, excessive time spent in a waiting room, and disruptions to daily life can be draining. 

At ContinuumRx, we believe infusion therapy shouldn’t feel like a burden, and with home infusion, it doesn’t have to be. Our team of medical professionals will travel to your home to deliver your infusion therapy, saving you time and money. According to a 2017 study by PubMed, “Home infusion costs were significantly lower than medical setting infusion costs, with savings between $1,928 and $2,974 per treatment course.” 

For patients who like getting out of the house but aren’t crazy about waiting rooms, ContinuumRx also has comfortable infusion suites at select locations where patients are treated immediately in group and individual settings. Our mission is to provide our patients with exceptional, streamlined care around their schedules. 

Are you interested in infusion therapy with ContinuumRx? Contact the ContinuumRx location closest to you to learn how we can treat your rheumatoid arthritis!

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Our Protocol for Continuing Treatment Through the Unexpected

According to a study conducted by HomeCare, approximately 60,000 patients rely on home infusion therapy daily. Typically, infusion nurses will travel to the patient’s home to deliver treatment conveniently. However, as hurricane season rages on and the threat of natural disasters constantly linger, it’s important for infusion patients to know the proper protocols for when unforeseen obstacles prevent them from receiving treatment.

Contact Your ContinuumRx Patient Care Representative

Contacting ContinuumRx may seem like the obvious answer, but too often, patients assume our communication systems are down, and there’s no way to reach us. Fortunately, our multiple locations act as one when disasters temporarily disable a site. Therefore, your Patient Care Representative may be able to direct you to an office unaffected by the disaster and can provide you with next-step information for your treatment.

Know the Resources Available to You

It may feel like you have no control when faced with a natural disaster, but acquainting yourself with resources already available to you can help you devise a plan for continuing care in the face of uncertainty. One preventative measure you can take right now is contacting your local hospital to find out the emergency services available for infusion patients. 

Another tip is researching your drug manufacturer and seeing if they offer helplines or resources for patients who cannot receive treatment due to unexpected circumstances. For example, some manufacturers, such as Amgen and Janssen, have direct resources available for patients in these types of predicaments.

Find Alternative Infusion Sites

If you need to evacuate your home, you will need to find an alternative infusion site of care. Again, this is something your ContinuumRx Patient Care Representative can help with as they can coordinate with an infusion provider in the area to redirect you to.

Another option is through the National Infusion Center Association (NICA). NICA is an excellent resource for finding an infusion site quickly when faced with an emergency because they offer an extensive database of infusion centers by region through their Infusion Center Locator. Simply type in your location, and NICA will provide you with a list of infusion centers in that area. You can also search by medication to ensure a center is able to treat you.

Dealing with a natural disaster can be stressful, and the last thing patients should worry about is whether or not they can receive their therapy. At ContinuumRx, your care is our priority; that’s why we encourage you to contact your Patient Care Representative and come up with a plan for if a natural disaster should prevent you from receiving your treatment.

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home infusion therapy

Hospital at Home or (HaH) is a term that will quickly be added to the vocabulary of Americans due to the current pandemic. As reported by Fox Business on August 20th, “Across the U.S., “hospital at home” programs are taking off amid the pandemic, thanks to communications technology, portable medical equipment, teams of doctors, nurses, X-ray techs and paramedics.”1 Excitingly enough, the home infusion industry has been operating under the care-at-home mentality for decades. This affords patients that have both acute and chronic illnesses, and cannot be treated with oral medications, the ability to be treated safely and effectively from the comfort of their own homes.

Think about it, how many people do you know that have a chronic illness like rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, congestive heart failure, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or ALS to name a few? Do they spend a multitude of time traveling to and from a healthcare facility to receive hours of treatment? Now layer on COVID-19, a virus that has proven to impact individuals with weakened immune systems, and you have a recipe for disaster.

If you had the option, would you choose for your loved ones to have a treatment option that would increase the quality of their care AND deliver some sense of normalcy in their life?

Prior to COVID-19, the home infusion industry was predominantly a B2B industry where a physician, nurse practitioner, and/or case manager kick-started the process. This is understandable, as there are many moving parts and seamless coordination that required between patients, physicians, hospital discharge planners, health plans, and of course, a home infusion pharmacy. Home infusion companies, like ContinuumRx, make the process seamless by coordinating all the pieces, including insurance approvals and payment plans to get patients into the right setting of care at the right time. But there is a recent shift as patients are learning about treatments online and are seeking out care on their own. Joe Malatesta, Executive Vice President of Sales at ContinuumRx stated, “We are seeing a significant increase in customers reaching out to us directly to learn more about our IVIG, cardiac, parenteral, enteral, and antibiotic therapies. This is giving us a greater opportunity to engage with our prospective patients and educate them about the benefits of home infusion therapy.”

Hence, here are three key benefits of selecting home infusion therapy:

  1. Risk Reduction and Improved Safety
    Less is more. Home-based treatment in a controlled environment with one-on-one treatment with a certified nurse has proven that home infusion therapy prevents unnecessary hospital admissions, shortens the length of a hospital stay, and avoids unnecessary readmissions. The key learning is to have the professionals come to you.
  2. Cost, Time + Quality of Care
    As they say, home is where the heart is. Well, the truth is that it’s where healing occurs too. A pilot study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston around the concept of Hospital at Home (HaH), concluded that care can be improved while reducing costs. According to the study, those patients that received at-home care had fewer lab orders, less imaging (like X-ray and MRI), had fewer consultations, and were more mobile, which resulted in a 70 percent lower readmission rate. The findings also indicated that at-home care patients had total costs that were almost 40 percent lower than for patients treated conventionally. Aside from the time, cost savings for travel, and wear and tear on a patient’s vehicle (and psyche), a home infusion patient benefits from being at home in a controlled environment that saves money and keeps them healthier.
  3. Medical Coverage
    The Centers for Medicare Medicaid Service (CMS) issued a proposed rule: CY 2021 Home Health Prospective Payment System Rate Update; Home Health Quality Reporting Requirements; and Home Infusion Therapy Service Requirements” (Proposed Rule). The NHIA has been working with stakeholders and legislators to advocate for Congress’ intended implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act.

    Find comfort in the numbers. According to the National Home Infusion Association, 3.2 million patients receive home infusion annually with 98% of patients reporting that they are very satisfied with their treatment. Connie Sullivan, President and CEO, National Home Infusion Association, commented that the role of the home infusion industry is, “Helping patients get back to normal life. They can take care of the medication, take care of their health, without having to focus on it and make their entire world revolve around it. It really allows us to bring those solutions to the patient, literally where they live.”3

Do you know someone that could benefit from home infusion therapy? Please contact ContinuumRx for more information @ info@continuumrx.com.

References:

1(2002, August 20). Coronavirus pandemic pushes expansion of ‘hospital at home’ treatment. At-home care aims to reduce strains on medical centers and ease patients’ fears. Retrieved from FoxBusiness.com HERE.

2(2019, December 17). Being Treated at Home Can Help People Save Money and Heal Faster. Retrieved from HealthLine.com HERE.

3(2020, August 12). NHIA: Representing Home and Specialty Infusion. Retrieved from YouTube HERE.