A Guide to Infusion at Penn Medicine


welcome to Penn medicines Abramson
Cancer Center we understand that infusion treatment can be a stressful
experience and we’re here to help you throughout the entire process to make
sure you receive the best care possible as quickly and safely as possible we
know that your time is valuable and we want you to know exactly what to expect
during your visit for infusion treatment we’ll walk you through everything from
arrival and check-in to getting your blood work done visiting your provider
scheduling your infusion how your treatment is formulated and verified and
the actual infusion process we’ll even give you a few tips on how to reduce
your wait times on future visits but first there are a few things to keep in
mind before you arrive for your first treatment come prepared to stay for
several hours your oncology care team will consist of
an oncologist nurse practitioner or a physician assistant and will often be
referred to as your provider your provider or in future nurse can let you
know how long you should plan to be here for future visits if you’re wondering
what to bring with you we generally recommend having a book or other form of
entertainment some snacks in case you get hungry
and a support person who can keep you company during your visit we welcome
family and support people for every visit but it’s especially encouraged
that you bring someone with you for your first treatment until you’re more
familiar with how your body will tolerate your infusion when you arrive at the Pearlman Center
for Advanced medicine you’ll have two options for parking pull right in front
for valet service or park in our garage in the rear of the building your parking
ticket will be validated when you arrive to the infusion suite when you enter the
Pearlman Center lobby take the escalators or the glass elevators up to
the first floor go right and head into the West pavilion where you’ll take the
first set of elevators up to your designated infusion floor depending on
which provider you’re seeing you’ll be on the second third or fourth floor when
you first arrive on your infusion floor check in with one of our patient service
associates for all your appointments that day this could include a lab
appointment an office visit with your provider or an infusion visit the
check-in process should take around five minutes after which you can have a seat
in the patient lounge until your name is called for the lab or clinic if you’re
sent home to have your blood drawn during your visit that will be your next
step our experience phlebotomist will draw your blood samples for any required
laboratory testing ordered by your provider there could be circumstances
either for your convenience or due to insurance requirements where you will
have your lab testing done somewhere else this is completely fine and the
results are still sent to us your provider can review the laboratory test
results during your clinic visit as one of the ways to monitor your health and
progress your type of cancer and your specific course of treatment may require
a variety of laboratory test results to be reviewed prior to your treatment
these can take between 30 to 90 minutes depending on the type of laboratory
tests being performed after your blood samples are drawn you will have a seat
in the patient lounge until you are called either to see your provider or
report to the infusion suite depending on the type and frequency of
your treatment you may need to see your provider on the day of your infusion if
you are scheduled to see your provider this is when that visit will happen the
length of time spent with your provider varies depending on each patient’s
unique circumstances we treat every patient individually and ultimately your
specific needs will dictate how long your provider visit lasts once your
clinic visit is over you’ll meet with one of our patient service associates to
schedule any upcoming appointments you will typically schedule your next clinic
visit an infusion visit at the same time as well as any necessary scans for
patients receiving both infusion and radiation concurrently the entire course
of treatment is likely to be scheduled at the beginning of your therapy because
of the complexity of coordinating both treatments but due to the unpredictable
nature of cancer treatment most patients will only schedule one or two
appointments in advance you’ve now checked in gotten your blood
work done met with your provider and scheduled your upcoming appointments at
this point we will now place your name in the queue for a room in the infusion
suite and you can take a seat in the patient lounge while you wait for your
infusion room our team is busy behind the scenes making sure everything about
your visit and your treatment is accurate and safe our triage nurse will
review your infusion orders and lab results and verify that you are safe to
receive your scheduled treatment this often requires additional communication
with your provider to review any questions or issues about your infusion
at the same time our insurance authorization department will verify
that your insurance is active and you’re properly covered for the specific
treatment that you’ll receive that day we perform this verification in order to
prevent incorrect charges being billed to you directly since your treatment
dosage or insurance plan can change it’s not always possible to complete these
verifications ahead of time and they can only be done once your provider has
ordered your treatment for the day once your labs orders and insurance have all
been verified the triage nurse will tell the pharmacist to begin mixing your
medication you will typically remain in the patient
lounge throughout this process which normally takes 45 to 60 minutes you are
more than welcome to leave the floor during this process but please check in
with the triage nurse first in order to decrease wait time for all patients the
triage nurse may send you to any of our 3 floors for infusion treatment as you make your way to your infusion
room our pharmacy is busy preparing your treatment specifically for you based on
your height weight and other factors on the day of your visit for your safety
each infusion dose is made only after your lab results have been reported and
your provider has determined you are safe to receive chemo on that scheduled
day your medication can take up to an hour to be prepared and is then
double-checked for safety by two separate pharmacists before being given
to your infusion nurse please keep in mind that if you are on a research study
or are receiving an investigational drug the length of time for mixing and
preparation can be increased as there are even more safety checks that must be
conducted to adhere to research protocols this entire infusion prep
process is all happening in the pharmacy while you are in your infusion room your
private infusion room usually includes a recliner a TV and free Wi-Fi rooms with
a bed are available for patients who are feeling ill have very long treatments or
have a condition where they would be more comfortable lying down once the
pharmacist has given your treatment to the nursing staff your infusion will
undergo a series of independent checks by two certified nurses your infusion
nurse will access your port or PICC line if you have one or start an IV in one of
your arms you will then receive any necessary pre medications that are
required prior to receiving your medication because some infusion
regimens require more pre-meds than others this process could take up to an
hour depending on your unique situation once the pre medication process is
complete your infusion nurse will administer your treatment and two other
nurses will complete a final series of safety checks to make sure you’re
receiving your medication correctly the length of time for infusion depends on
your unique treatment plan and can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a full day
certain medications may require that you remain in your infusion room for
monitoring after your treatment is complete
regardless of how long your treatment lasts your support person can be in your
infusion room with you throughout the entire process.
Juice and crackers are provided in the infusion sweet but please feel free to
bring snacks or meals with you for the day.
There are also multiple places to purchase food and drinks throughout the
Perelman Center remember you are free to move around within the infusion suite
all you like but for anything outside that area you’ll want to ask your
support person to make those purchases and bring them back into the infusion
suite once you’ve finished your infusion treatment for the day you’re free to
leave since you’ve already scheduled your next appointment and keep in mind
if you have a question about any part of the infusion process your provider or
infusion erse will be happy to talk with you about it one question we get asked a
lot here in the infusion suite is how can I minimize my wait times on
treatment day we understand that waiting is an unwelcome part of the infusion
process but there are a few things you may be able to do in advance to help
move things along depending on your regimen you may be
able to schedule your chemotherapy infusion appointment on a separate day
from your clinic visit the infusion suite is busiest between the hours of 10
a.m. and 3 p.m. if your schedule allows booking an appointment outside of those
hours will reduce your wait time substantially not all treatment sessions
have this time flexibility so be sure to discuss this option with your provider
first if you are due for a scan prior to seeing a provider scheduling that scan
up to a few days prior to your appointment will allow your physician
plenty of time to review your results before your appointment blood samples
are considered safe for treatment within 3 days of your appointment so having
your blood drawn at a lab in advance is another way you can decrease your weight
on infusion day at the a verson Cancer Center our goal is to provide you with
the best possible care as quickly and safely as possible we understand that
your time is valuable and we hope you agree that your safety
is worth the wait you

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