Intravenous Fluid at Home

Intravenous fluid at home:

At home intravenous (IV) therapy is a process in which the patient receives intravenous treatment at home, as advised by a doctor, without having to go to a clinic or hospital. It is a safe yet effective substitute for in-patient care. Both home and thorough patient assessments are performed prior to starting intravenous therapy at home (Mainehealth, 2021).

Treatment of choice for your loved ones:

At home intravenous (IV) therapy is a treatment of choice for patients who wish to spend less time in a clinic or hospital setting and would like to return home to resume their comfortable lives and daily activities. It can directly administer nutritional formulas, medications, and antibiotics are into the bloodstream (The Doctor’s Choice,2015). IV therapy can become incredibly time-consuming and costly; especially for individuals who need ongoing treatment, such as those with hormone deficiencies, cancer (The Doctor’s Choice,2015), and for those fighting with chronic ailments like autoimmune disorders.

Nonetheless, according to research conducted by Sowerbutt et al in 2018, the use of intravenous fluid can be used as a method of nutrition for patients who are in palliative care for cancers that cannot be surgically removed. The study pointed out that these patients were able to process little of the food given through the normal route of the digestive system. Hence, there was a need for another route for providing nutrition (Sowerbutt et al., 2018). The study concluded that the effect of this intravenous fluid was found equal whether it was given at home or in a hospital.

Methods of intravenous therapy:

IV fluid or medications are administered through a tube or needle called a catheter. The catheter is inserted in the patient’s vein which receives intravenous therapy in the form of fluid or medication. This fluid goes directly into the vein just below the surface of the skin. The patient may learn to self-deliver the intravenous treatment. In most cases, a family member or a caregiver may learn how to help the patient with intravenous therapy at home (Mainehealth,2021).

Types of intravenous fluid treatment at home:
Below are common intravenous therapies generally recommended to patients which can be easily administrated at home:

  1. Central Venous Catheter
  2. Normal intravenous (inserted into the vein just beneath the surface of the skin).
  3. PICC line (Mainehealth,2021).

Popular reasons for intravenous therapy at home:

Common reasons why IV therapy is performed at home are:

  • Treatment for hormone deficiency.
  • Nutrition is provided through veins.
  • Pain relief with the help of patient-controlled analgesia.
  • Some antibiotics are given through catheters because they are more effectively delivered intravenously.
  • Antibiotics that are not taken by the mouth are given by this method (Mainehealth,2021).

Advantage of intravenous treatment at home:

Before intravenous treatment is started at home, proper training of the personnel is necessary to perform the process safely and effectively. A research conducted by Romøren et al. in 2017 provided a nursing home’s staff with a structured health program to adhere to. The provided guidelines allowed the staff to recognize when the appropriate time for initiating treatment was. The earlier they started the treatment, the more it significantly benefited the patient which significantly reduced emergency hospital admissions in that area. This study concluded that the process of giving intravenous treatment for dehydration and infection was safe at home when adhering to a structured health program (Romøren et al, 2017). Early treatment benefited the patients and reduced hospital admissions significantly in this study (Romøren et al, 2017). 

Problems due to intravenous therapy:

Intravenous therapy at home is an effective and safe method to receive fluid, medication, and nutrition at home. If you or your loved ones are experiencing the following problems, then you need to contact a nurse or health care provider as soon as possible:

  • Bleeding from the area of tube or needle.
  • Needle coming out.
  • Signs of infection including fever, pain, redness, and swelling.
  • Swelling in the area around the needle or the vein (Mainehealth,2021).

References

Sowerbutts AM, Lal S, Sremanakova J, Clamp A, Todd C, Jayson GC, Teubner A, Raftery AM, Sutton EJ, Hardy L, Burden S. Home parenteral nutrition for people with inoperable malignant bowel obstruction. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Aug 10;8(8):CD012812. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012812.pub2. PMID: 30095168; PMCID: PMC6513201.

IV Therapy at Home. (2021). Retrieved 25 May 2021, from https://www.mainehealth.org/Services/Home-Health-Care/IV-Therapy-at-Home

IV Therapy Intravenous Fluids Home Care Los Angeles | Doctors Choice. (2021). Retrieved 25 May 2021, from http://thedoctorschoiceagency.com/iv-therapy/

Romøren M, Gjelstad S, Lindbæk M. A structured training program for health workers in intravenous treatment with fluids and antibiotics in nursing homes: A modified stepped-wedge cluster-randomized trial to reduce hospital admissions. PLoS One. 2017 Sep 7;12(9):e0182619. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182619. PMID: 28880941; PMCID: PMC5589147.

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