How have home infusion pharmacy partners been impacted during the COVID- 19 pandemic?
Our infusion partners are different health systems. As we speak, multiple teams within each system are searching for ways to vacate and reassign hospital beds needed for COVID-19 patients. The Infectious Disease specialists are extremely busy attending to COVID 19 and non-COVID patients. The medical directors are looking for other options. Home infusion has become one of the other options. Plans and collaborative agreements are under review to facilitate moving and treating more patients in their homes. Increased technology working hand in hand with home health care nursing and home infusion pharmacy services is emerging as another alternative therapy location and modality.
We have seen an increase in the number of home IV antibiotic patients, patients on Total Parenteral Nutrition while surgeries are on hold, and an increase in the need to provide supportive care to oncology patients in the form of hydration and electrolyte replacement therapies.
What are some new obstacles you have had to navigate?
TeleHealth and technology-oriented appointments have become common place. Feedback from the pharmacy and nursing teams has become invaluable to the medical providers. The nursing teams see the patient and the pharmacy teams interview the patient, mostly on different days. Both teams share their findings with the medical providers.
How has the PPS pharmacy team been able to help the health system in other ways?
The PPS Pharmacy team is a cohesive unit that supports our home infusion partners. We have established a rapport with the medical providers within our home infusion partners’ service area. Our ultimate directive is providing the best patient care services. To meet our goal, we establish relationships with the patient, the primary caregiver, the skilled nurse and the medical provider. We share information and work in partnership with this team that has the patient in the center. We review labs and contact medical providers with any anomalies, we will dose any lab dependent therapy in collaboration with the provider, we will seek out supplies with our partners to ease the patient’s discomfort. In addition to providing pharmacy services, we work to share the load.
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