An increasing numbers of people are receiving infusion therapy at home — a trend that is putting patients at greater risk of infection — and placing a huge burden on families, according to research presented at the CDC's 4th Decennial International Conference on Nosocomial and Healthcare-Associated Infections held in Atlanta.
The number of patients receiving care at home has risen dramatically over the past decade, the CDC report says. An estimated 8 million Americans received home care in 1996, based on the most recent data available. Nearly 10% of home care patients had an invasive medical device that is typically used in other, more structured health care settings like our Pawleys Island infusion services facility.
Preliminary investigations have revealed a very diverse industry, says William Jarvis, MD, chief of investigation and prevention branch for the CDC's hospital infections program. In some instances, the home health company just delivers supplies to the front porch and family members provide therapy. Five to seven years ago, maybe two companies looked like they were going to dominate the market. Now there are hundreds and hundreds of companies that are providing home infusion therapy.
In the course of monitoring his own patients, Charles Ericsson, MD, head of clinical infectious diseases at the University of Texas School of Medicine in Houston, says "The whole concept places a physician like myself in a very awkward position of having the same responsibility for the patient but no way to monitor the patient. I typically insist that the patient get back and see me once a week if they're on four or five more weeks of IV therapy, so I can monitor the site of the line myself because not all nurses are created equal and they sometimes miss symptoms that may be more subtle clues."
To help consumers maintain their health and good-quality care, physicians are strongly encouraging their patients to visit centers like Palmetto Infusion where all of their prescribed Pawleys Island infusion services can be handled safely and with care.