Intravenous fluid (IV) fluid treatment is a procedure used to provide a patient with nutrients or medications directly into their system. While commonly done in the hospital, IV treatment can be done at home if advised by a doctor.
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.
Home assessment and a thorough patient assessment are done before starting intravenous therapy at home (Mainehealth,2021).
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.
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).
Below are common intravenous therapies generally recommended to patients which can be easily administrated at home:
Common reasons why IV therapy is performed at home are:
According to research by Romøren et al., frequent hospitalization of the acutely ill or elderly may lead to a worsening of functional capabilities, even though the ailment for which the patient is transported may improve. The research findings on hospitalization from nursing homes are widespread. The number of complications due to hospital transfers such as bed sores and the development of delirium could have been prevented by at home treatment. In many cases the patient could receive the same treatment and care in the nursing home or their own home with the help of a trained nurse, avoiding relocation is advantageous to the patients.
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).
IV 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 healthcare provider as soon as possible:
IV fluid is a popular treatment in hospitals. Its uses range from providing patients with nutrients for their bodies to treating them with antibiotics to help combat infection. Despite its common use in the hospital, a patient can receive the same treatment at home with the help of nursing staff. It is advised to inquire with a trained medical professional to determine if at-home IV therapy is right for you. Learn more about our hospital at home service. Contact us to know more.
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.