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Information for Patients

Infusion Therapy Center: Frequently Asked Questions

Patients come to the Infusion Therapy Center (ITC) for chemotherapy, intravenous fluids, medications or blood products. ITC appointments may be on the same day or on a separate day from your follow-up visit with your oncologist.

Here are some frequently asked questions patients have about coming to the Infusion Therapy Center. Feel free to ask any staff member if you need help, or contact us on the Patient Assistance Line if you have further questions, at 410-328-7609.

 

Where Do I Report for Treatment?

The Stoler Pavilion for outpatient cancer care is located to the right of the Information Desk, just inside the main medical center entrance. Please report to the Stoler front desk when you arrive. After you check in, we will ask you to have a seat in the waiting area. (We make every attempt to be on time with your appointment. If you find that you have been waiting for longer than 30 minutes, please check back with a staff member at the front desk.)

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What Needs to Happen Before My Treatment Begins?

A technician will call you to have your vital signs checked and receive an arm band. An IV will be placed, or your mediport will be accessed. If you have not already had blood drawn, it will be done at that time.

You will return to the waiting room while your nurse checks your doctor's orders and makes sure your labs results are adequate for treatment. (It takes approximately an hour to get the results of your blood tests. Please allow enough time before your visit so that the test can be processed before you see your physician.)

If you are receiving blood, the blood bank will need approximately two hours to type your blood and find a match for you.

If you are getting chemotherapy, the orders will be given to the pharmacy once we have your blood test results. The pharmacy may take up to an hour to make the chemotherapy. (See an explanation of chemotherapy preparation at "What's Taking So Long.")

Once all of those pieces are in place, a staff member will escort you into the ITC. You may receive premedications to prevent side effects such as nausea. The premedications may be given as pills or IV. Certain chemotherapies also require extra intravenous fluids to make sure you are adequately hydrated. These measures can add anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours to your total chemotherapy time.

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Why Did Someone Who Came in After Me Get Called First?

The ITC is organized into three teams, divided by type of cancer and physician. Each team works independently, so patients coming in after you may be called before you. If you have been waiting for longer than 30 minutes, we ask that you notify a staff member at the front desk.

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How Long Does the Actual Chemotherapy Infusion Usually Take?

Each chemotherapy medication can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours to administer. Chemotherapy regimens may contain anywhere from one to four different chemotherapy medications.

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Can I bring a Family Member or Friend?

You may bring one guest with you into the ITC. For the safety of our patients, visitors who are ill or who have cold symptoms should not accompany patients into the ITC. Children age 12 and under are not permitted.

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Am I Allowed to Eat During Treatment?

We ask that you try to eat a light meal prior to your treatment. A complimentary lunch and light snacks are provided for patients. You are welcome to bring your own snacks or meal. (Please avoid strong smelling foods, as they may bother other patients receiving chemotherapy.) Guests may bring their own food or purchase food from the cafeteria or one of the restaurants.

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What Should I Bring With Me?

Each treatment bay is equipped with a recliner chair for the patient, an upright chair for a guest, a small table and a television. Cell phones are permitted, as are music players as long as you have headphones. Wireless Internet access is available. Blankets and pillows are provided, or you may bring your own. For your comfort, we recommend dressing in layers. Many patients bring books, knitting, drawing, etc. to help pass the time. Restrooms for patients are located in the ITC. We ask that all guests use the restrooms located in the waiting area or in the main medical center lobby.

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What If I Need Assistance During My Treatment?

Throughout your treatment, you will be monitored by your nurse for any side effects or unanticipated reactions. A call bell will be within your reach at all times. Your ITC nurse is a great resource for questions or concerns about your treatment, nutrition, activity, what to expect, or any other concerns you may have about your care.

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This page was last updated on: October 14, 2010.