IV Drug Infusion Therapy FAQs

  • Medical Author:
    Maureen Welker, MSN, NPc, CCRN

    Maureen Welker received a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and also obtained a Public Health Nurse Certification. There she served as Vice President of the Graduate Nurses Association, at CSULB and also served as President of the Graduate Nurses Association. Ms. Welker is a board-certified Nurse Practitioner and is currently on staff at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Introduction

You have been informed by your healthcare provider that you will need to receive intravenous (IV) infusions of a medication to treat your health condition.

The treatment for many conditions relies on medications administered by IV infusion therapy.

How do I prepare for the infusion?

Below are a few helpful suggestions to help you create a pleasant and healing experience.

  • The first and most important step is to replace confusion with confidence.
  • Make a list of questions that pertain to your health condition or questions about your medication and infusion to review with your healthcare practitioner. It may be necessary to make an appointment to review all of your questions.
  • Learn about the infused medication. There are many places to obtain information about your medication. Discuss the medication(s) with your doctor. Pharmaceutical companies often provide information in the offices and on the Internet for patients and their families. There may also be medical books written about your medication or health condition.
  • Visit the Infusion Center and meet the medical staff before your first infusion.

Check with your healthcare practitioner or the staff at the infusion center for any pre-infusion instructions. Some examples may include:

  • Drink plenty of water to be sure you are well hydrated. If you have a heart condition, kidney condition or any other health condition that prevents you from drinking large amounts of fluid, check with your healthcare practitioner for instructions on how to hydrate before your infusion procedure.
  • Some infusions may require that you pre-medicate with medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). Check with the infusion staff regarding any pre-medications you need to take prior to your infusion, the dose, and the best time to take the medications.
  • Wear comfortable loose fitting clothes. You will want to be comfortable, and most likely your vital signs will monitored (for example, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate (breathing rate), or a cardiac monitor may be attached to your chest). Every infusion center is different, so check with yours in regard to what to expect. Wearing loose fitting clothes allows the medical staff to easily and properly monitor your vital signs.
  • Consider wearing clothing with layers to allow for temperature control. The temperature of the infusion center may be cool or warm; also some intravenous infusions can make you feel either warm or cool. Having layers of clothing allows you the flexibility to easily control your comfort zone.
  • Most infusion centers will provide blankets, pillows, water and coffee. Check to see what the center provides in case they do not offer something that will make you more comfortable.
  • Do not wear any fragrance or perfume, other patients may be allergic.
  • Bring a complete list of current medications, allergies, and emergency contact information for the infusion staff to add to your chart.

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What are some things I can do to pass the time while receiving therapy?

Things to take or do:

  • Book
  • Magazine
  • Newspaper
  • Crossword puzzle or Suduko game
  • Hand held games - (if they are quiet or have headphones)
  • Bring your own music (I-pod or MP3 player)
  • A neck pillow - the type used on airplanes
  • Pictures of your family or loved ones
  • Study for that upcoming test
  • Bring your computer and get some work done, watch a movie, or play games.
  • Snacks and a drink (if allowed in the infusion room)
  • Bring paper and pen - make a list of things you need to do
  • Write a letter -a letter of encouragement - of love - of thanks.
  • Catch up on paper work
  • Plan a party
  • Make your shopping list
  • Knit
  • Crochet
  • Draw or doodle
  • Plan a trip
  • Take a nap
  • Pray
  • Meditate

PLEASE DO NOT TALK ON YOUR CELL PHONE - Place your phone on vibrate mode or turn it off. This is not a time for talking on the phone (unless you have an OK from the infusion staff).

Arrive at the infusion center with a:

  • Smile
  • Positive attitude (you are in good hands).
  • Personal affirmation - Find one that feels good and energizes you. For example: "I have the perfect medicine...at the perfect time...I am healing."
  • Sit back and relax

What happens during and after the infusion?

  • Ask questions and notify the staff immediately if you are not feeling "right" or have a concern.
  • Consider talking with someone in the Infusion Center receiving treatment. They may have some advice about their health condition that will help you. You may meet a new friend.
  • After your infusion is completed, ask for any important post infusion instructions.
  • You may need to take post-infusion medications. Check with your healthcare practitioner or the infusion staff for detailed instructions.
  • A dressing will be placed in the area where your infusion was done. This dressing should be kept in place for at least 30 minutes or longer. If you are on a blood thinner, leave the dressing in place longer to avoid any bleeding. Check with the staff at the Infusion Center in regard to the length of time necessary to keep the dressing in place.
  • If you have an allergy to tape, inform the infusion staff (advise them of all allergies).
  • Obtain a phone number to call in the event that you have any questions or possible side effects to the medication you receive (such as a fever or rash) after your infusion has been completed.

Be confident that you are receiving excellent care!

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Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE:

Maddox, Ray R., et all. "Intravenous Infusion Safety Initiative: Collaboration, Evidence-Based Best Practices, and “Smart” Technology Help Avert High-Risk Adverse Drug Events and Improve Patient Outcomes." National Institutes of Health.

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Reviewed on 9/2/2016
References
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE:

Maddox, Ray R., et all. "Intravenous Infusion Safety Initiative: Collaboration, Evidence-Based Best Practices, and “Smart” Technology Help Avert High-Risk Adverse Drug Events and Improve Patient Outcomes." National Institutes of Health.

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