The Womack Army Medical Center Infusion Clinic passed its three- year mark since standing up January 2012.
Upon opening its doors, the clinic cared for 10 patients the first month and a total of 152 adult patients in 2012.
The Infusion Clinic patient visits have continued to rise and are now averaging about 50 patients per month, administering 588 infusions for fiscal year 2015.
Infusion therapy is a type of medical treatment in which medication is delivered directly into the body through a blood vessel. This type of therapy is used when oral medication is not an option for a variety of reasons: the medication is not available in pill form, swallowing disorders or the use of oral medication is not absorbed correctly in the stomach.
The clinic has administered routine treatments through IV or injection for multiple sclerosis, iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, calciphylaxis, Fabry’s disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and systemic infection.
“Many patients would previously have to drive a few hours to a hospital and sit for one to six hours. Now beneficiaries can come to Womack and get their infusion,” said Maj. Hillary Thomas, Internal Medicine service chief.
“We are giving medications that are technically challenging and require additional training to be able to give them and are primarily given in places like an oncology clinic because of the technical capabilities required,” said Thomas.
The clinic recently brought on additional nurses due to high patient demand. Prior to the additions, Melissa Dean, a registered nurse, was the primary nurse dedicated to infusion therapy.
“I absolutely love what I do. I could not imagine what my life would be like if I could not be a nurse. It is never the same day twice and I meet a lot of really great people,” said Dean. “I am a civilian, so I am a constant here. I feel that helps me better serve my patients who may not be as familiar to Womack.
“I enjoy learning about new IV medications and disease processes. I truly believe in ‘One Team, Quality Care, Quality Caring.’ I fully believe that helping to care for our servicemembers and their Families is the least I can do, especially when you consider all they give up for me,” said Dean.
Suzette Perkins, a WAMC patient, makes routine visits to the clinic for infusion therapy.
“Coming to the clinic has been very beneficial for me. I use to have to give myself daily injections with a medication that stopped working,” said Perkins. Now I come to Womack once a month.
“It takes about a day or two for the medication to kick in and it feels like a cool liquid going into my veins,” Perkins added.
The clinic also assists other departments when specialty infusions are needed within the hospital.
“We have an excellent, integrative, multi-disciplinary team that supports patients Womack-wide. This is all about the patient,” said Thomas. “This is so patients have local access and can get cared for here at Womack.”
For more information, about the Infusion Clinic, call 907-8385.