A team of Specialty Infusion Nurses is on the road. They are trained to deliver and administer home therapies to patients in the comfort of their home.
By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Her husband was so satisfied with the care and attention she received that he gifted her nurse with flowers.
“I want people to know about the professionalism of my nurse and how well she did explaining things to me,” said Roachdale, Ind. resident Kathryn Gross. Her IU Health nurse was Amanda Tames. In September 2021, Gross began home infusion treatments for thyroid eye disease.
“I had puffiness around my eyes, bulging, and constant double vision,” said Gross, 56. The diagnosis made it difficult to work and to drive. It also came at a time when her fear of hospital visits was heightened by COVID.
Tames is one of IU Health Specialty Infusion Nurses who administer treatments in a patient’s home. For Gross that meant sitting in the comfort of her brown velvet soft chair, her feet propped on an ottoman and her 3-year-old beagle, Colt, curled up by her side. After an eight-course IV treatment, Gross said: “The treatment was a 100 percent success. The puffiness and double vision are gone.”
Clay Gross presented Tames with a bouquet of flowers to thank her for the care of his wife.
Tames is specially trained in vascular access, patient-specific disease processes and the specialty drugs needed to manage those conditions. The goal of the infusion nurse is to provide patients with the best possible health in the comfort of their homes. Not only do the patients have a peace of mind knowing they receive care at home; providers also have the assurance that their patients are receiving quality care.
Tames works four 10-hour shifts a week and sees about two to three patients a day. Before joining the Specialty Infusion team she worked at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health as a medical-surgical nurse. Those in her care range from pediatric patients to adults. Their diagnosis may include bacterial pneumonia, urinary tract, blood, skin or bone infections, nutritional deficiency, Crohn’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, immune or blood disorders or organ transplant. Tames covers patients who live west and south; she travels to the Illinois state line, Bloomington, Avon and Plainfield.
“The thing I like best is focusing on one patient and knowing they don’t have to worry about driving, parking and walking. I show up and I’m here to help them,” said Tames. A visit can take up to 45 minutes or longer. Tames starts by taking her patient’s vitals, then mixes the medication and continues monitoring her patient throughout the course of the treatment.
Some patients doze on and off during lengthy treatments; others want to talk,” said Tames, who has been married for 22 years and is the mother to five children ages 21 to 11.
“I see some of the same patients frequently. It’s not unusual for us to exchange recipes or just catch up on our families and life,” said Tames. “It’s easy to get to know my patients well when I’m with them one-on-one.”