Healthy You - Every Day

How Infusion Services Can Help You


Fifteen hours of Carol Nolf’s week is spent receiving life-sustaining care. She visits Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Muhlenberg three days a week, five hours at a time to receive infusion services. “It’s something I have to do,” says the 69-year-old Northampton woman. “It’s like my job.”

Nolf has short bowel syndrome, a condition that causes dehydration because her body cannot absorb enough nutrients from the foods she eats. It occurred three years ago when a diseased portion of her small intestine had to be surgically removed. With infusion services, Nolf receives the hydration and electrolytes she needs intravenously. “Without this place and these doctors and nurses, I wouldn’t be here,” she says.

Infusion services help people with a variety of conditions that require hydration, nutrition or medication to be administered intravenously or by injection. It’s how patients with cancer receive chemotherapy. “There was a time when you had to be hospitalized to receive infusion services,” says Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute hematologist oncologist Ranju Gupta, MD, with LVPG Hematology Oncology. “Today infusion services are provided on an outpatient basis.”

Infusion locations

Here are things you may not know about infusion services:

Any medications that must be administered intravenously or by injection can be given here. It’s a treatment for many conditions. “For patients with an autoimmune disease, we administer a medication that suppresses the immune system, thereby slowing or stopping the damage from the disease,” says gastroenterologist Shashin Shah, MD, with Eastern Pennsylvania Gastroenterology and Liver Specialists, PC. This can be an effective treatment if you have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, transplant rejection or certain skin conditions.

It’s how blood transfusions are performed. Transfusions are used to treat blood loss or to supply blood components – such as red blood cells and platelets – that are destroyed or not made by certain diseases.

It’s convenient and cost-effective. Years ago, patients stayed in the hospital to receive chemotherapy, blood transfusions and other infusion services. Now patients can receive these services as an outpatient at locations throughout the region. This keeps health care costs down for patients.

It’s safe. Patients are monitored closely by nurses who specialize in providing infusion services. They offer excellent nursing care. All of the nurses must obtain chemotherapy and oncology national certifications.

Your comfort is paramount. During treatment, you can relax in a comfortable chair or bed, talk to a visitor, read a book, watch a movie or listen to music.

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