Home Infusion Therapy: Preventing Infection

Infusion therapy is a safe way to take medicines or fluids that can’t be taken by mouth. A nurse will show you or your caregiver how to set up your home infusion system. Treatment will become part of your daily routine. To prevent infection, wash your hands before and after treatment. Also keep your setup area clean. And check the infusion site on your arm or chest daily.

What is infusion therapy?

With infusion therapy, medicines, nutrition, or fluids flow through a flexible tube (catheter) that’s put in a vein. Then your blood carries the treatment all over your body. Many types of catheters or ports can be used for home infusion. Some are in the arm, others are on the chest. The type you have depends on what the treatment is and how long you'll need it.

Washing your hands

Closeup of hands in sink with running water. Hands are covered with soap suds.

Tips for thorough handwashing:

  • Use liquid soap and lather well for 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Scrub between your fingers and under your fingernails.

  • Rinse with clean, running water, keeping your fingers pointed down.

  • Use a paper towel to dry your hands and to turn off the faucet.

Setting up

Tips for setting up:

  • Wipe off the work surface. Then cover it with a clean towel. Use the same setup area each time.

  • Lay out everything you need.

Caring for the infusion site

Tips for infusion site care:

  • Follow the nurse’s directions for cleaning your infusion site and flushing the catheter before and after treatment. Ask the nurse if you should use sterile gloves.

  • Check the site daily for signs of infection. These may be drainage, soreness, or redness at the catheter site. Also check your temperature if you think you have a fever. Report these signs to your healthcare provider.

  • Keep the site dry. Ask the nurse how to bathe safely.

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