Infusion therapy in Idaho Falls, Idaho
Infusion therapy is when medication or fluids are administered through a needle or catheter. It is a way of delivering medicine that can't be taken orally, or that needs to be dispensed at a controlled pace. Through the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC) Infusion Center, patients receive a high level of care through various specialists.
For more information about our infusion services, please call (208) 227-2700.
Infusion Center location and hours of operation
The Infusion Center is located in the Idaho Cancer Center at EIRMC, at 3245 Channing Way.
We are open from 7:00am until 5:00pm Monday through Friday, and from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm on the weekends.
Infusion therapy treatment
At the EIRMC Infusion Center, we pride ourselves on providing individualized care in a warm and friendly environment. Every member of our professional team specializes in infusion therapy and has advanced certification in chemotherapy.
Though chemotherapy treatment represents the bulk of our work, we deliver a host of other treatments on an outpatient basis. Conditions we often treat include rheumatoid arthritis, various immune deficiencies, blood disorders and diseases requiring intravenous antibiotics.
Other conditions for which infusion therapy is used include:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Congestive heart failure
- Crohn's disease
- Gastrointestinal tract diseases
- Ulcerative colitis
Types of infusion therapy
Infusion therapy comes in several different forms. Depending on the patient's condition or the patient, a certain type of infusion can be more beneficial than others. Types of infusion therapy include:
Like what is administered for pregnant women, an epidural infusion targets medication to the center of your lower back, surrounding the nerves in the spine. To accomplish this, a doctor will make a small injection and insert a catheter tube into your back, somewhere between the bottom of the skull and the tip of the tailbone, followed by pain medication through the tube.
Intramuscular infusions deliver medications directly into the muscles, allowing them to absorb more quickly into the bloodstream. Most commonly used for vaccines, intramuscular infusions are typically used when specific intravenous methods are irritating to the veins or when certain oral drugs risk being compromised by a patient's digestive system.
Intramuscular infusions are absorbed faster than subcutaneous infusions, which can take up to 24 hours to absorb fully. Intramuscular infusions work more quickly because muscle tissue can hold a larger volume of medication and has a greater blood supply than the tissue just under the skin.
Intravenous means "into the vein." IV infusion therapy delivers various treatments, including antibiotics, biologics, general pain management, heart pump medications or chemotherapy, where IV infusions target and destroy tumors and cancer cells.
The most common type of infusion is intravenous infusion therapy. It is delivered via a traditional IV, the same kind of IV you have likely used if you have ever spent time in a hospital. In those cases, an IV is usually employed to help with hydration or for taking fast-acting medications.
Subcutaneous infusions use short needles to inject medications just under the skin into the tissue layer between skin and muscle. Subcutaneous infusions become beneficial for small amounts of delicate drugs when methods like intravenous infusion become cumbersome and costly. Common subcutaneous infusions include insulin (such as using an EpiPen), hormones and even morphine.
While infusion therapy is beneficial for several different conditions, chemotherapy is our primary dynamic infusion therapy treatment.
Chemotherapy is a powerful chemical drug treatment used to kill cancer cells. It is employed for many different types of cancer. Depending on the type of cancer and its stage, the four main goals of chemotherapy are:
- Cure cancer
- Keep cancer from spreading
- Relieve cancer symptoms
- Slow the growth and multiplication of cancer cells
While sometimes chemotherapy can be administered through epidural or other infusions, typically, chemotherapy is administered through IV infusion therapy, which sends the chemotherapy drugs directly into the bloodstream. However, chemotherapy may be used with radiation therapy, surgery, or both depending on the type and stage of cancer. More than one chemotherapy drug may be given at a time to increase the chances of effectiveness.
Chemotherapy can also be delivered orally, intramuscularly and intrathecally (into the spinal fluid through a spinal tap).
IV chemotherapy sends medicine directly into a vein via a small needle inserted into the lower arm. Sometimes, a syringe pushes the chemotherapy through the tubing, which is called an IV push. When you receive chemotherapy through an IV, it's important to tell your nurse right away if there is any redness, burning, or discomfort in the IV area.
Central venous catheters
When determining the proper course of IV infusion treatment, sometimes a more permanent type of catheter may be recommended to avoid repeated needle sticks into the vein. These permanent catheters are called central venous catheters or implanted ports. Central venous catheters are surgically inserted into one of the large, major veins in the chest and stay in place until the therapy is completed.
Chemotherapy, blood and IV fluids can be given through this catheter, and blood for lab tests can be drawn from this site. The tube will be capped and covered by a dressing, while your nurse will teach you how to care for the catheter to avoid infection.
An implanted port is a type of central venous catheter that is surgically inserted into a vein under the skin surface on the chest wall between the neck and shoulder or in the lower arm. The nurse will insert a needle through the top skin surface to use the port to give chemotherapy, blood, IV fluids or draw blood. Home care is usually required only at initial insertion.
What to expect with treatment
You may be treated in your doctor’s office, in the hospital, receive pills to take on a specific schedule at home, or receive drugs at home via an implanted pump. Your dosage schedule may last from a few weeks up to a year, with varying cycle frequency (once a week, once a month, or other intervals). If you are going to be treated as a hospital inpatient, we have specialized facilities and nurses to take care of you.
During and after chemotherapy
During chemotherapy treatments, you may experience some nausea. Some, but not all, chemotherapy drugs may cause nausea and vomiting if you do not take any preventive measures. Your healthcare team knows which medications are likely to cause these issues, and you may be prescribed additional anti-nausea medications to take before, during or after a chemotherapy treatment. We also give patients “angel mints” that help calm nausea.
Additionally, some treatments may cause hair loss on your head and other parts of the body. Your doctor knows which treatments are likely to cause hair loss, and generally, your hair will grow back after treatment.
The main factor to consider is that chemotherapy is usually delivered systemically so that both your healthy and cancerous tissues are exposed to the drug. Chemotherapy is used this way because cancer cells are more vulnerable to treatment than healthy cells. However, your body’s healthy tissues need time to recover their strength.
Typically, you will receive an initial course of treatment, which will let the doctor know if the drugs are effective against your cancer. Depending on your overall health afterward, you will receive additional courses necessary to destroy any remaining cancer cells in your body.
Your doctor may provide a list of instructions for care between chemotherapy cycles. Follow them carefully and stay focused on having a good outcome from treatment.