The New Normal: In-Home Infusions
For those of you not familiar with the Entyvio infusion process, it is actually not that bad, however, it does take some time out of your day, and the amount of time is unpredictable. The pharmacy cannot mix your medication until you arrive since it has a short shelf life, so from the time you check in until you actually being the infusion can be anywhere between 20-40 minutes.
Then, you have to get the infusion which takes 30 minutes, plus adding additional time should the nurse not immediately come over to take the IV out. So, despite it only being a "30-minute infusion" the entire process can take up to 2 hours.
Infusions were not ideal before
In order to avoid further delay, I always scheduled my infusion for the first appointment of the day and would eat my breakfast and apply my makeup while sitting in the chair (so I didn't have to wake up any earlier!) and the time went by pretty quickly while multitasking.
So, overall, it wasn't terrible and I knew to adjust my day accordingly so that I didn't run the risk of missing a meeting due to my infusion being delayed, but it still wasn't ideal, and doing my own injection of Stelara was much easier, especially once I had my daughter last year.
The option for in-home infusions
Without going into great detail (I will save that for another post!) I am now back on Entyvio since I had developed ulcers while on Stelara over the past few months. Initially, I pushed back from returning to Entyvio, mainly because my free time is much more limited due to having my daughter and trying to balance work and mom life.
Fortunately, my GI informed me that they have been doing in-home infusions because of COVID and I would be able to set that up for all infusions going forward, including the initial onboarding infusions. This was a new concept to me, and I wasn't sure how it would work out, but I am pleasantly surprised at how easy and efficient the whole process is.
Preparing for an in-home infusion
First, the medication is dropped off the day before my scheduled infusion along with all of the supplies the nurse needs to administer it, including an Epi-pen should I have had a reaction to the first dose. I left the medication in the refrigerator as instructed, and the supplies fit neatly in my bathroom cabinet (a plus considering I have a little one running around who gets into everything!).
The day of the infusion was also extremely convenient. I was able to schedule a time that worked for me and the nurse showed up promptly, ready to get the process started. As I mentioned above, the medication cannot be mixed until just before infusion, so while we waited 20 minutes for it to process, she took my vitals and asked me a series of onboarding questions.
The ability to move around and be comfortable at home
It was also nice being able to tend to my daughter during this time, knowing the actual infusion was only 30 minutes.
I was fully prepared for my husband to watch our daughter and put her down for her nap while getting my infusion, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the bag of medication is stored in a nifty carrying bag so that I could be mobile while getting the Entyvio.
I was able to walk around, pick up my daughter, eat my breakfast all while my medication dripped into my arm.
I also wondered if it would be awkward sitting with my nurse for 30 minutes, but thanks to the portability of the medication, we went about our business cleaning up breakfast and getting my daughter ready for her nap while conversing with the nurse and it made the entire experience enjoyable.
I would highly recommend this option
I could not believe how quickly the time went by, and it felt like only 5 minutes had passed when the IV bag beeped that it was empty. This in-home infusion was awesome!
Overall, I would highly recommend an in-home infusion if possible. We were also very careful of COVID protocol, and wore our masks the entire time, and felt extremely comfortable with the nurse in our home.
While I was not thrilled that I had to make a change to my treatment plan, I am comforted in knowing it was not a major inconvenience and worked out well for my family and me.
Do you have a diagnosis story to share?