Receiving IV therapy is one of the reasons many seniors and adults take advantage of nursing homes such as Fairview Rehab and Nursing Home in Queens NY. IV or intravenous therapy has many applications for a range of health issues. Before you or your loved one have to take advantage of IV therapy, it is a good idea to learn what is involved.
What is intravenous therapy used for?
Many patients in nursing homes need to receive IV therapy in some form. It does not mean that IV therapy is used for senior patients only. Depending on the patients’ health issues, medical practitioners commonly use it for patients of all ages.
What IV therapy means is that patient’s medication, as well as fluids, are delivered directly into a vein. For example, a drip you might have received in a hospital for dehydration is a form of IV therapy. Veins are part of your body’s circulatory system. When introduced through veins, medication and fluids reach all your organs directly, much faster and more effectively than when they are ingested.
When is IV therapy required?
Patients receiving IV therapy in a nursing home often battle a serious medical condition. For them, IV therapy is the fast way of getting the care they need and getting back to their normal lives.
IV therapy has three main uses: for administrating patient’s medication, to provide fluids and nutrients, and for blood transfusion. The reasons for any of these uses of IV therapy are numerous. Some of the most common are:
- To feed patients who have difficulty eating or drinking;
- Administer high doses of antibiotics;
- To treat dehydration or imbalance of electrolytes;
Replenish blood lost in an accident;
- Add essential minerals and vitamins when lacking;
- Treat certain cancer patients;
- To provide nutrients to patients whose illness prevents them from normal absorption of nutrients.
How IV therapy works
Only a skilled nurse or other medical practitioner should perform IV therapy. A nurse inserts a catheter or a direct access tube into a vein. Most commonly it is a peripheral vein. At times the catheter is inserted into a central vein, mostly when for some reason a peripheral vein cannot be used.
Peripheral veins are found in a hand, arm, wrist, leg, or feet. When necessary, doctors install a port or a direct line in the large vein in the torso. Installing a direct line increases the risk of infection, so it is used rarely, only when necessary.
After a nurse inserts a needle into the vein, she connects it to the medication, fluid, or blood that the patient is to receive. They are commonly placed in a plastic bag hanging on a stand above the patient. If the nurse is experienced and skilled, receiving IV therapy should not be uncomfortable or painful to the patient.
Receiving medical and non-medical IV therapy
Besides its legitimate medical use, IV therapy is also used for administering vitamins or various supplements in so-called IV clinics that are lately popping up everywhere.
Not all of them have qualified staff who know how to perform IV therapy safely. This use of IV therapy should not be confused with its normal medical use and can be damaging and dangerous for patients.