TMH Living Well: Variety of infusion services offered at TMH |

TMH Living Well: Variety of infusion services offered at TMH

The Memorial Hospital

Myndi Christopher

When people think of infusion services, they typically think of chemotherapy, yet there are many other reasons people receive infusion.

"Infusion therapy is varied and covers a whole gauntlet of other therapies and treatments besides oncology," said Kyle Miller, PharmD, director of pharmacy for The Memorial Hospital.

According to the National Home Infusion Association, infusion therapy is prescribed when a condition cannot be treated effectively with oral medicines. With infusion therapy, drugs are given through a needle or catheter while patients relax in a chair or recliner.

"People receive infusions of antibiotics, blood and plasma products, pain control medicines and much more. At The Memorial Hospital, we offer the latest and greatest therapies and can provide all the treatments offered at other infusion centers," Miller said.

Conditions that commonly require infusion therapy besides cancer include severe infections, gastrointestinal diseases, dehydration, congestive heart failure, immune deficiencies, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, hemophilia and more.

The infusion room at Craig has two reclining chairs equipped with a television and tables to occupy patients getting infusions. People come from Craig and surrounding areas, including southwest Wyoming, to receive therapies for a variety of reasons. Services are offered from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and after hours through the emergency department.

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"People love having infusion therapy at TMH. They appreciate the chance to stay home and not travel. We do our best to get patients in and out quickly. Depending on whether they are simply getting an injected medicine or a lengthy infusion, we make sure they are comfortable and occupied," said Marie Kettle, RN, TMH Infusion Therapy Services.

"I administer a variety of specialty medicines for people coping with rheumatoid arthritis, MS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and more. We also do blood transfusions, iron transfusions and antibiotic therapy," she added.

Miller encourages people who require infusions to check with the hospital when they are diagnosed, as it likely can be administered at TMH. Infusion patients do not have to see a local doctor to receive infusion therapy services. Orders from any certified physician are accepted.

This weekly article with tips on living well is sponsored by The Memorial Hospital at Craig — improving the quality of life for the communities we serve through patient-centered health care and service excellence.

Visiting oncologists available at TMH

In an effort to bring more services to you, The Memorial Hospital has partnered with St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction to provide access to oncologists for local residents. On the third Thursday of each month, Dr. Mark Hancock and Dr. Virginia Tjan-Wettstein alternate to bring oncology services to TMH in Craig. The doctors treat all types of cancer.

Hancock, who is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology, is director of St. Mary’s Regional Cancer Center. Tjan-Wettstein is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology, and has a special interest in leukemia and lymphoma.

“We come to TMH as a service to patients. It saves them a drive to Grand Junction or elsewhere when they may not be feeling well,” Hancock said. “Getting chemotherapy can be challenging, but the good news is that new medicines help prevent side effects that used to require hospitalization. For instance, the drug Aloxi essentially eliminates nausea. That’s part of what allows folks in Craig to get chemotherapy at TMH.”

TMH is partnering with St. Mary’s to bring other cancer services to local residents as well. In addition, the hospital has hired a nurse navigator to help patients through their cancer experience.