Nobody wants to travel long distances in order to receive healthcare.
Traveling can be especially taxing when it’s for care the patient needs on a regular basis; for example, infusion therapy for chemotherapy, or treatment of advanced diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus or Crohn’s disease. Not feeling well simply adds to the difficulty of a long drive.
That’s why Prowers Medical Center is pleased to provide infusion therapy services close to home.
“Even if there’s an injection or infusion we haven’t done here in the past, we are willing to research it and find a way to make it happen,” said Shelby Warn, RN, Infusion Therapy/Infection Control at Prowers Medical Center. “Our biggest goal is trying to care for the patient close to home so they aren’t having to drive to the bigger towns to get these services.”
Prowers Medical Center is happy to coordinate with regional oncologists to administer chemotherapy and other infusion therapies for local patients. With a doctor’s order in hand, patients can call the hospital and schedule an appointment to start treatment.
For cases in which patients need an injection or infusion that Prowers staff hasn’t done in the past, Warn said she works with the pharmacy to ensure the treatment can be ordered and with the billing department to ensure the drug can be billed for properly. If additional training is needed, the Prowers Infusion Therapy Team works on that as well.
“It is very important to me that we meet the patient’s needs because we understand how daunting it is for patients to travel for these needs elsewhere,” Warn said. “I have patients coming in weekly — if they had to travel to a larger city to get these services, they may not be as compliant, or the traveling may put a physical and financial toll on them. We will do what we can to work with their provider to make sure their needs are met.”
Some infusion therapy patients visit Dr. Robert Hoyer, an oncologist with UCHealth’s Cancer Center at the Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, and others visit with Lisa Adams, PA-C. Both medical experts visit Prowers Medical Center’s Specialty Clinic once a month for two days at a time to see patients from Lamar and our surrounding communities.
In between visits from Dr. Hoyer and Adams, patients can see Shelby Casper, nurse practitioner at Prowers Medical Center Clinic, for their oncology or infusion therapy needs. Since Casper is local and qualified to help with infusions, she can meet with patients who can’t or shouldn’t wait a month to receive care from Dr. Hoyer or Adams. Casper has helped with oncology and infusion patients since December 2018, and Warn coordinates with her to see patients who need more immediate care.
“Prowers Medical Center really wanted a local extension to see patients in between treatments to address any concerns or side effects or make any dosage changes, depending on how the patient is accepting their treatments,” Casper explained. “Patients now have a local resource to visit with sooner if they are experiencing symptoms or issues.”
Since there are a large number of cancer, hematology and other patients in the community who receive this type of care, Casper also assists Dr. Hoyer and Adams during their monthly visits.
“I’m able to help with the work load and take care of our patients so they don’t get their appointments pushed out too far,” Casper said. “It’s important to have that level of trust and continuity of care.”
Chemotherapy infusions are provided by nurses trained in chemotherapy infusion techniques. Depending on how many medications are ordered, the chemotherapy process can take anywhere between two to four hours — with the longest visits lasting most of the day.
“Our cancer patients tend to be on a set schedule — usually needing treatment every 7, 14 or 21 days — so I work closely with our oncologists to coordinate the infusion orders for chemotherapy, as well as with other doctors for other therapies,” Warn said.
Other types of infusions tend to vary in visit lengths, depending on what they are for. These visits can range from less than an hour to several hours.
Warn said once the Prowers Medical Center Infusion Team receives an order, they have to ensure the patient’s insurance does not require pre-authorizations, meaning that sometimes, it may take a couple of days to schedule a service.
“We are always working as quickly as we can,” she said. “We also don’t keep all drugs that a patient might need on hand, so we order them in as patients are scheduled.”
Infusion therapy is provided from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. It’s best to schedule an appointment rather than walking in with your doctor’s order. A scheduled appointment allows Prowers staff to get orders cleared through insurance first, ensuring the pharmacy can get the medication ordered on time for the patient’s visit.
“We provide most infusions here at Prowers Medical Center,” Warn said. “Since some out-of-town physicians don’t realize we provide infusion services at the hospital, ask your doctor if it’s something you can get here in Lamar.”
Infusion therapy has two rooms: one for general infusions and another for chemotherapy infusions. The rooms have comfy recliners, soft lighting and a television, and the open concept gives patients the option of keeping to themselves or chatting with those around them.
“A lot of our patients already know each other, and if they don’t know each other, they enjoy meeting a new neighbor,” Warn said. “It’s nice to have a small community where people care about each other.”
For more information on infusion therapy at Prowers Medical Center, visit prowersmedical.com or call Shelby Warn at (719) 336-6743.