My First At-Home Infusion
Recently, my insurance company decided that I needed to stop getting my biosimilar infusions at the medical center. Instead, they wanted me to move to at-home infusions for my ulcerative colitis treatment. I was surprised by this and asked why.
I'd imagined that at-home infusions would be more expensive, but apparently, in my situation, it was cheaper for the insurance company because there was no facility fee associated with having it at home. Regardless, there wasn't much of a choice, so I moved to the at-home infusions per their directive.
Setting up at-home infusions for ulcerative colitis
I was nervous about having at-home infusions, partially because I'd gotten used to going to the medical facility. I had a way of doing things there, and I wasn't sure what it would be like at home, especially in terms of receiving the medication. Besides, I was also worried it wouldn't be as safe.
Setting up the at-home infusions was a little frustrating at first. I needed to get into the system, which meant that my UC doctor had to contact the at-home program. Once that was done, things got easier.
First, I got a call from the at-home infusion nurse coordinator to discuss when I needed to get my biosimilar infusion. We scheduled it for exactly the day I would have gotten it at the medical center. However, I didn't know what time the infusion nurse would come, although I indicated that I preferred morning. I was told I would get a call the day before to schedule the exact time.
In-home infusion supplies
Next, a delivery service sent all my supplies to me. This first time, the kit included all sorts of things, including, but not limited to, a collapsible IV pole, tubing, syringes, and cleansing wipes. I also received my medication the day before the infusion and was told to refrigerate it. That same day, I received a call that solidified that my nurse would come by around 9:00 in the morning to start the infusion.
Things seemed to be going well in the morning. My nurse was adept at setting everything up, including the IV pole and my IV itself. The problems started when we discovered that the delivery service hadn't sent enough sterile water. Unfortunately, my nurse needed to mix the sterile water in with the medication, and without it, we couldn't move forward.
Luckily, I didn't have any time constraints that day, so my nurse asked if she could come back later that day. She would call the pharmacy and see if they could get me more sterile water, and then we would start the infusion. She was so thoughtful she even drove to the pharmacy herself to pick up the new order, and we started the infusion a few hours later.
The other issue we had was that my pre-medications were not sent over. I typically take a steroid, an antihistamine, and some Tylenol with my infusions at the medical center, but there were no orders for these things. I was able to take the antihistamine and the Tylenol with what I had at home, but I had to skip the steroid. I was a little nervous about that, but we decided to move forward.
Staying comfortable during my infusions for UC
The infusion itself went well. I was able to relax on the couch and have as many blankets and snacks as I wanted. My nurse stayed in the apartment the whole time, and she checked in periodically to see if I was having any trouble. We stayed on time, and everything was exactly the same as it would have been in the infusion center, but more comfortable.
Regardless of if the infusion hadn't gone well, I would have had to stick with at-home infusions due to insurance. Thankfully, it went well enough. I'm hopeful that the issues we encountered will be fixed going forward. But in the end, I'm most grateful to continue receiving my ulcerative colitis medication in a timely manner.
For those who are looking for a comfortable option, and who don’t want to travel to an infusion center, in-home infusions may be the way to go.
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