Infection treatment is a common component of wound care, post-surgical care, and chronic disease management in short- and long-term care facilities. Certain infections, like MRSA and C-diff can spread quickly in these types of settings without proper precautions and protocols in place.
IV therapy is one of the best ways to control infections in these environments because of its effectiveness. Let’s talk about how IV therapy works and how the treatment benefits those in long-term care facilities.
How infection control in IV therapy works
IV therapy is a medical treatment that involves injecting medication, nutrients and fluids into a vein. This method delivers medication directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestion and absorption processes that oral medications have to go through to reach the bloodstream.
If you or a loved one contracts an infection, this delivery method gives your body a more powerful boost. Higher concentrations of antibiotics can reach your tissues quicker for a tougher fight toward recovery and immediate relief. It also helps prevent the spread of disease by minimizing the time you're contagious.
This type of treatment has some major infection-fighting benefits, particularly for older patients in long-term healthcare settings.
4 Major Benefits of IV Therapy
1. IV therapy is the most effective treatment for many serious infections.
Oral antibiotics are sufficient treatment for many minor bacterial infections such as ear infections or strep throat. However, more serious infections respond better to IV therapy either because they require higher concentrations of antibiotics, oral antibiotics can’t reach the affected body parts, or the infection is resistant to oral antibiotics.
The types of bacterial infections that often respond best to IV therapy include:
- Skin Infections
- Bone Infections
These types of infections are common in long-term healthcare facilities and may require more aggressive treatment than oral medications can provide. With IV therapy, medical providers can deliver higher, more precise dosages at higher frequencies straight into the bloodstream. They can also control dosage adjustments with greater accuracy as they monitor how the body responds.
2. Patients in long-term care facilities benefit from IV therapy.
Patients in long-term care settings benefit from IV therapy for infections for several reasons. First, IV therapy is an easier way to administer treatment for those who are recovering from surgery, have swallowing difficulties, or are otherwise incapacitated. The IV offers an alternative delivery method when a patient is unable to ingest treatment any other way.
Second, IV therapy also allows patients to avoid hospitalization in many instances. An infection that would normally warrant a trip to the ER can be avoided if your care facility offers in-house IV therapy.
3. Disease spread is minimized with IV therapy.
Long and short-term care facilities have a unique environment that often sees higher rates of infection for several reasons. One reason is that age and underlying health conditions make us more susceptible to infection, and these facilities have a high percentage of older people with preexisting conditions.
Also, these facilities typically offer treatment for infection, so they naturally see more patients with infections. Factors like shared living spaces and susceptibility to infectious disease can also play a role in infectious disease spread in these environments.
However, IV therapy can help minimize the spread of contagious disease in skilled nursing facilities. Early detection, isolation, and prompt treatment are all crucial for slowing the spread of disease. IV therapy is a prompt, effective treatment.
The sooner antibiotic therapy starts, the less time the patient spends in a contagious state. For example, a typical person with pneumonia is no longer considered contagious within 24-48 hours of starting antibiotics, so quick treatment can keep it contained. Antibiotics can reduce the spread of contagious bacterial infection, which is crucial in shared living environments.
4. IV therapy is most effective in short, repeated intervals.
Skilled nursing staff know how to optimize IV timing for the most effective outcome. They need to provide enough antibiotics to clear the infection and prevent relapse. At the same time, they have to be careful not to over-treat and contribute to more widespread problems with treatment-resistant infection.
The type and extent of infection, as well as your body’s response, dictate what course of antibiotics is recommended. Generally speaking though, a tailored treatment regimen that tapers treatment in short, repeated intervals seems to optimize antibiotic use.
IV antibiotics usually act quickly and penetrate better than oral antibiotics. If your body responds well, then a longer, higher dose isn’t required. You can avoid the extra side effects and reduce unnecessary exposure to antibiotics with shorter doses.
This type of targeted treatment requires close monitoring and regular reassessment to ensure the best outcome, so it’s only offered in certain healthcare settings with skilled staff who specialize in IV therapy.
Where to Get IV Antibiotic Therapy
Not all facilities are qualified to offer IV antibiotic therapy. Typically, this service is only provided at hospitals by staff who are qualified to provide IV antibiotic therapy. Many long- and short-term care facilities aren’t equipped to offer these services or only offer them at certain times.
The type of short, repeated intervals required for many IV antibiotics require round-the-clock supervision by a qualified RN.
Rehab Select is one of few facilities that provides dedicated 24-hour nursing staff to administer and monitor IV therapy. They have safety and infection control practices with IV therapy in place to optimize recovery and minimize risk, putting you in caring hands.
If you or a loved one requires IV antibiotic treatment as part of your short- or long-term rehab care, Rehab Select can accommodate your needs in-house. Contact the facility by calling or the number at the top of the page or reaching out online.