Specialty infusion care can be life-changing for individuals with chronic and complex medical conditions. For certain types of infusion therapy treatment, patients can be trained to self-administer the infusion. Self-infusion provides freedom and flexibility, and it’s often a more affordable option than having a medical professional administer the infusion. The first step in finding self sufficiency through self-infusion needs to be training with a medical professional. Here are a few of the main reasons why.
Several Steps Involved
There’s more to self-infusion than inserting a needle and receiving the medication mixture. A professionally trained nurse can walk patients through each step, ensuring their comfort with each step of the process. Having a trusted observer (like a family member, friend, or caretaker) can also help find potential gaps or areas that need improvement. These are the main steps involved in most self-infusions:
- Sterilizing the equipment, work area and skin
- Mixing the medication, avoiding air bubbles
- Filling syringes and priming IV tubes
- Preparing an arm or hand, finding a vein, properly inserting the needle
- Removing the needle and bandaging the site
Risk of Side Effects
Self-infusion can be perfectly safe when done correctly. In most cases, patients who confidently self-infuse find that it’s an important part of their health journey. Not needing a nurse to come over for every infusion can be freeing, and it’s often very safe. However, as with any medication, side effects are possible, especially if the infusion is done incorrectly. These are a few of the most common ones:
- Air embolism occurs when air enters the bloodstream through air bubbles in the syringe, tubing or medication bag.
- Infection can occur if all equipment and injection areas are not sterile.
- Phlebitis is inflammation of veins that is often caused by regularly inserting needles in the same spot.
- Superficial vein thrombosis, or SVT, is when small blood clots occur if the vein wall becomes irritated.
Infusions Can Be Intimidating
Inserting needles is scary for some people, even ones who have had IV infusions in the past. Having anxiety when handling medical equipment can be risky. Therefore, the first few times a person self-infuses, they should do so with the help of a trained professional. Once the patient is comfortable and knows they are in control, they can be more comfortable and therefore less prone to errors.
Self-Infusions May Not Work Out, and That’s Okay
If you have difficult-to-find veins or can’t get over the fear of injecting yourself with a needle, you may need to rethink self-infusion. There’s always a risk of bleeding during the process, which can be difficult for the faint of heart. It’s not for everyone, though most patients who choose to self-infuse are successful in doing so.
At AvevoRx, we believe patients deserve speed, service and simplicity. That’s why we empower our patients, whether they’re using in-home infusion therapy or going into a doctor’s office. Signing up is easy, with real humans involved every step of the way, from home self-infusion training to financial assistance and beyond. Patients with complex conditions, as well as their providers and payers, can count on AvevoRx to provide personalized care throughout the process. Contact us today to learn more.