May 21, 2020

HITH expands services to include home iron infusions

The Northern Health Hospital in the Home (HITH) team have expanded their services to include offering iron infusions to eligible patients in the comfort of their own home.

HITH began offering infusions to patients who were already receiving treatment in their home for other reasons but also required an infusion, so the service helps patients stay at home longer and avoid extra travel including potentially having to come into hospital for one day.

“Some of the people who are frail were finding it difficult to travel to get their iron infusion done so it is more convenient to see those patients in their own homes with our nurses going out there,” said Lynne Santamaria, HITH Acting Nurse Unit Manager.

The home iron infusion service has ramped up over the last 6-12 months, offering the service to more patients where possible.

HITH are now able to provide iron infusions through the Residential Care Intervention in the Elderly (RECIPE) Program, so people living in aged care facilities can receive their infusion at home, rather than having to present to hospital.

For patients in hospital, the home service means they are able to be discharged sooner and saves them additional travel.

“If there’s a patient on the ward who may be ready to go home today but they require an iron infusion, their discharge might be delayed. So now, they could go home earlier and we would go to their house and do the infusion the next day. The service also helps prevent readmissions – if a patient is very frail and the infusion isn’t done within the next few days, they could end up being readmitted,” said Michelle McDonald, HITH Clinical Liaison Nurse.

“Patients are just much more comfortable in their own homes,” Lynne added.

In the current pandemic, COVID-19 has impacted all areas of Northern Health and HITH is no exception. HITH receives referrals from community home-based care programs and nursing homes asking for swabs on symptomatic patients that are unable to get to a fever clinic for a swab.

“Our staff have done this willingly and use full PPE when attending these visits. HITH also provided swabbing of asymptomatic patients during the government’s testing blitz,” Lynne said.

“Our staff have accepted and embraced all the challenges that come and will continue to come with nursing during this COVID-19 period. As their manager, I am very proud of the way our unit epitomizes the Northern Health values – safe, kind and together.”

Featured Image: HITH Nurse, Elle, with patient, Keith Carney