Every 28 days, Robbin McDonough makes the trek to the Bothwell Infusion & Procedure Center on the second floor of the hospital. There she receives medication through infusion therapy that helps ease her rheumatoid arthritis or RA symptoms.
McDonough, 64, was diagnosed with RA in 2008. The disorder affects the body’s tissues and joints and causes painful swelling. She also has fibromyalgia, an incurable condition that causes fatigue and muscle pain. In 2007, she had triple bypass heart surgery and over the years has received 10 stents to keep her heart’s arteries open.
“My former family doctor liked to call me a ‘medical challenge,’” she said with a lighthearted laugh. “My RA doctor is in Columbia and it’s taken a while to get my medication right between pills, shots and infusions to help my pain. The infusion therapy I get at Bothwell helps with inflammation and settles down my symptoms.”
The Infusion & Procedure Center provides outpatient services for patients who need IV infusions, injections, biopsies, PICC insertions and care, port flushes, urological procedures, paracentesis, thoracentesis and PleurX catheter placement as well as moderate sedation for other procedures when needed. Work is completed by a staff of three nurses and two nursing assistants.
Infusion or IV therapy is done by placing an IV directly into the patient’s arm. It allows for more efficient treatment of chronic illnesses since it delivers medicine, antibiotics and/or hydration directly into the bloodstream. Even though her specialist is in Columbia, McDonough lives in Sedalia and chooses to get her IV therapy at Bothwell for the convenience and care.
“I’ve been coming here for eight years,” she said. “The care is so good and everyone is so sweet. They make sure I’m comfortable each time and they make me feel at ease. They are like my family.”
Leslie Shapley, RN, said the close-knit team receives orders for services from Bothwell and out-of-town physicians who refer their patients to the center for care.
“We offer a convenient and close-to-home option for patients who live or work in the area,” she said. “Every month, we perform nearly 200 infusions and 100 procedures.”
Patients who get treatment at the center can spend anywhere from 30 minutes to eight hours a visit. That’s plenty of time to get to know the team. One patient has started a book club with staff and McDonough regularly brings food and extras from her garden.
“We have built a close bond with Robbin over the years,” Shapley said. “She brings us snacks and treats and makes us feel like a part of her family and friends. We also have built our relationship to be her medical sounding board. We answer her questions about all aspects of her health.”
Amenities at the center include four recliner rooms with televisions, four private patient rooms and two procedure rooms along with free internet and snacks. Shapley said it’s important for patients to not only feel comfortable but connected.
“We see a lot of the same patients regularly,” Shapley said. “We like to build and keep friendly, open communication and provide personalized care. We treat every patient as if they are our family or friends and dedicate ourselves to making them as comfortable as possible.”
Despite her health challenges and frequency of treatment, McDonough believes in the power of the connections she gets at Bothwell.
“I just love them all up here,” she said. “Everyone is so friendly, even people I meet in the hallway. A smile goes a long way.”