Treating individuals who have moderate to severe hemophilia requires routinely replacing missing factor VIII or factor IX levels through infusion. Factor infusions may be administered at medical facilities such as Hemophilia Treatment Centers or at home through home infusion or self-infusion.
With the development of recombinant (man-made) coagulation factors, home infusion is now a safe, convenient, and cost-effective hemophilia treatment option. Hemophilia patients can receive factor infusions at home through a nurse visit, from a trained caregiver, or by learning how to self-infuse.
The Benefits of Hemophilia Home Infusion
Infusing factor at home may be the right choice for patients who desire more freedom and flexibility in their treatment regimen. Home factor infusions offer several benefits over receiving routine infusions in a medical facility.
Hemophilia home infusion treatments:
- Are more convenient
- Save time traveling to and from medical facilities
- May cost less than receiving infusions at medical facilities
- Offer a more proactive treatment for preventing bleeding episodes and hemophilia complications (such as joint damage)
- May provide quicker treatment for uncontrolled bleeding episodes
- Make prophylactic factor replacement routines easier to maintain
- Reduce hospital visits for people with moderate to severe hemophilia
- Enable patients to take control of their treatments and enjoy more independence
Home Infusion: Intravenous Factor Injections
Home infusion is a popular option for patients who receive frequent prophylactic blood clotting factor infusions. Home infusions are usually performed by a nurse, caregiver, or even the patient. This hemophilia treatment option provides less risk for infections and other complications than permanent vein access devices.
Home Infusion: Central Venous Access Devices
For hemophilia patients who need frequent infusions, a central venous access device (CVAD) or port may provide an alternative to intravenous injections. CVADs are implanted during a short surgical procedure to provide vein access, eliminating the need for frequent injections.
Ports are often implanted in young children with hemophilia so that parents and other caregivers can more easily provide prophylactic clotting factor infusions. While CVADs make regular infusions easier, they carry a significant risk both for blood clotting in the vein accessed by the device and bloodstream infections. CVADs must be kept sterile and special precautions should be followed before and after home infusions to minimize the risk of infection and possible sepsis.
Learning How to Self-Infuse
Self-infusion is a hemophilia treatment option for older children and adults who want to maintain an independent lifestyle while effectively managing hemophilia disease symptoms. Once patients learn how to self-infuse, new possibilities emerge for travel, work, and recreation.
Home care nurses can teach hemophilia patients how to self-infuse. The nurse will cover the process of preparing and administering factor, safety precautions to take, what to do in emergency situations, and other hemophilia treatment guidelines. While learning how to self-infuse requires commitment on the part of patients and caregivers, for most patients the time invested in learning how to self-infuse yields more flexibility in their care.
When to Begin Self-Infusion Education
Children often learn how to self-infuse around the age of 8 or 9. This age is optimal for learning to self-infuse because children are young enough to make infusion part of a regular routine but old enough that they are able to master the steps for self-infusion. Younger children can begin getting ready for self-infusion by gathering and preparing supplies before they receive injections. Participating in their own treatment encourages them to take an active role in their care.
For more information on hemophilia home infusion, self-infusion, and learning how to self-infuse, contact us.
Hemophilia Self-Infusion: How NCHS Can Help
At NCHS, we do more than just fill prescriptions. We help hemophilia patients learn how to self-infuse and provide support for questions or concerns that may arise during the self-infusion process. Pharmacists at our hemophilia specialty pharmacy are available 24/7 for patient consultations. We also assist patients with managing hemophilia medication delivery schedules, maintaining supply levels, and arranging for overnight delivery in emergency situations.
Learn more about our hemophilia and bleeding disorder services or contact us to discuss how we can best meet your hemophilia treatment needs.