Infusion therapy vs iv therapy

Deborah C. Escalante

Difference between Infusion Therapy and Intravenous therapy

The terms infusion therapy and intravenous (IV) therapy are often interchanged by clinicians and consumers. However, there are disparity between infusion therapy and IV therapy.


In medicine, infusion therapy involves infusing fluids or medications into any part of the body through an infusion device such as a needle or catheter. Infusion therapy routes include epidural infusion (into the membranes surrounding the spinal cord), arterial infusion (into an artery) Intraosseous infusion (into the bone marrow), subcutaneous infusion / hypodermoclysis (under the skin), intraperitoneal infusion therapy (into the peritoneal cavity) Intrathecal (into the intrathecal space) and intravenous route (into the vein).


Intravenous infusion therapy consists of administration of fluids and medications through a peripherally or centrally located venous access device (VAD). Insertion of vascular access devices is an invasive procedure which requires specialized training and skills. Infusion therapy related complications could be debilitating and life threatening. Clinicians involved in any type of infusion therapy also requires knowledge and skills to use and maintain the device, prevent, recognize and manage complications.

Receiving a prescription for infusion therapy can be confusing. And, when you’re already dealing with an underlying medical condition, the last thing you need is something else to worry about. What is it like? Will it hurt? How long will each session take? All of these questions are understandable. Answers are important for your peace of mind — as well as to provide some sense of comfort to your loved ones. So, what, exactly, is infusion therapy? And, what can you expect from it?

What is infusion therapy?

Infusion therapy — also known as IV therapy — involves administering medications intravenously. This is done by injecting a needle directly into the patient’s arm. It allows for much more efficient treatment of chronic illnesses since it delivers medicine, antibiotics, and/or hydration directly into the bloodstream. As a result, there’s a higher absorption rate and you can obtain relief faster.

IV therapy is used to treat a long list of chronic conditions, including but not limited to:

Why undergo infusion therapy?

Infusion therapy is ideal for patients who — due to their chronic condition — it becomes difficult, uncomfortable, or impossible to take medication orally. It provides faster hydration for individuals who recently came out of surgery and have lost a significant amount of fluids. Infusion therapy is also a good option for people who have been unresponsive to oral medications.

Are there any side effects?

While rare, side effects would depend on the medication being administered. Some of them may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Muscle Stiffness
  • Itchiness at the injection site
  • Headaches

Prior to starting your infusion therapy, one of our healthcare professionals will review your prescribed medication and discuss all possible side effects with you.

Other risks include infection at the injection site where the IV needle is inserted. The needle could also become dislodged, causing the solution to enter the surrounding tissues. To lower these risks, each infusion is monitored by either a physician or a registered nurse.

What to Expect

The infusion is administered by injecting a needle attached to a small tube directly into one of the patient’s veins. This tube is connected to an IV bag containing the prescribed medication. Once attached to your vein, the solution slowly drips into your bloodstream.

The duration of each session depends on the medication being administered and your specific needs. Regardless of how long it takes, at Infusion Associates, our staff is fully committed to making sure the experience is as comfortable as possible. You can bring your laptop, a book or magazine, and receive your infusions in a reclining chair. We provide blankets and free Wi-Fi, and you can listen to music or watch a movie. You can also have the peace of mind that comes from having either a doctor or nurse practitioner monitoring the infusion.

Another benefit is that our infusion centers are more welcoming and cozier than a hospital environment. In addition, costs are much lower at an outpatient facility than at a hospital. And, you don’t have to worry about scheduling, since we are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Can you go to the bathroom during an infusion treatment?

Yes. If you need to use the restroom once treatment has started, let the physician or registered nurse know. Your infusion will be stopped for several minutes to allow you to take a bathroom break. Depending on the medication, you may need assistance to stay steady on your feet. If you suffer from incontinence, you may want to wear disposable underwear to prevent accidents.

Can you bring a loved one?

Not at this time due to COVID-19. [Usually, yes. You are more than welcome to bring in a family member or a friend for company or support. This is part of our unwavering commitment to make you feel as comfortable as possible. We also require that all minors be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.]

Can you eat or drink during infusion treatment?

Yes. You can bring your own snacks or drinks. We also provide hot beverages — such as coffee, tea, or hot cocoa — to make you feel at home.

Are there private rooms available?

Yes. When scheduling an appointment with us, let our team members know that you would prefer to receive treatment in a private room.

How to Prepare for Infusion Therapy

At Infusion Associates, first and foremost, we want you to feel at ease. To ensure your treatment goes smoothly:

1. Follow your doctor’s instructions.

Some infusions require a patient to hydrate prior to treatment. Others may require a particular diet or taking medication prior to the infusion. Before referring you to our clinics, your doctor will let you know what you need to do to best prepare for your infusion therapy.

2. Write down all of your concerns.

Prior to commencing therapy, make a list of all your questions. We’ll be happy to discuss them with you. We’ll explain the entire process, the risk of side effects — and what those side effects are — as well as any additional matter that may be making you anxious.

3. Make a list of medications you’re taking.

Regardless of whether you’re taking prescription medications or over-the-counter painkillers, let our team members know. This is essential to ensure that you don’t experience an adverse reaction from mixing items that don’t work well together.

4. Wear comfortable clothes.

This serves a dual purpose. First, it’s practical — one of our healthcare professionals will take your vital signs — and wearing loose-fitting clothes will make this process easier. Second, while we’ll make sure you’re in a comfortable environment, what you wear can help make you feel more relaxed.

5. Clear your schedule.

You’ll want to have time to rest after each infusion treatment. Your body may either need the time to fully recover, or you may need time off if you experience side effects. Do not stress yourself out thinking that you have to rush to get to work or run other errands.

Accepted Insurance Plans

We accept all major forms of insurance, as well as participating PPO, HMO, POS, and managed care plans. View our Accepted Insurances page to learn more.

If Your Doctor Has Recommended IV Therapy, Let Infusion Associates Help You

At Infusion Associates, we provide medically-prescribed infusion therapy for patients with chronic conditions in a welcoming and friendly environment. Our team of healthcare professionals is fully committed to making the experience as comfortable as possible for you or your patients. We always inform patients of any potential side effects and answer all their questions before starting treatment. In addition, we have a Registered Pharmacist available to make the process as seamless as possible.

If you would like to refer a patient to us or want to inquire about the treatments we offer, you can contact us by calling us at (833) 394-0600 or filling out this form.

Home infusion therapy involves the intravenous or subcutaneous administration of drugs or biologicals to an individual at home.  The components needed to perform home infusion include the drug (for example, antivirals, immune globulin), equipment (for example, a pump), and supplies (for example, tubing and catheters). Likewise, nursing services are necessary to train and educate the patient and caregivers on the safe administration of infusion drugs in the home. Visiting nurses often play a large role in home infusion. Nurses typically train the patient or caregiver to self-administer the drug, educate on side effects and goals of therapy, and visit periodically to assess the infusion site and provide dressing changes. The home infusion process typically requires coordination among multiple entities, including patients, physicians, hospital discharge planners, health plans, home infusion pharmacies, and, if applicable, home health agencies.

Directory of Home Infusion Therapy Suppliers  

This searchable list/directory of home infusion therapy suppliers in a specific locality will be updated bi-weekly.

Section 5012 of the 21st Century Cures Act

On December 13, 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act (the Cures Act) was enacted into law. Section 5012 of this new law amended sections 1861(s)(2) and 1861(iii) of the Act, and established a new Medicare home infusion therapy benefit. The Medicare home infusion therapy benefit is for coverage of home infusion therapy-associated professional services for certain drugs and biologicals administered intravenously, or subcutaneously through a pump that is an item of DME, effective January 1, 2021. Section 1861(iii)(2) of the Act defines home infusion therapy to include the following items and services: the professional services (including nursing services), furnished in accordance with the plan, training and education (not otherwise included in the payment for the DME), remote monitoring, and other monitoring services for the provision of home infusion therapy furnished by a qualified home infusion therapy supplier in the patient’s home.

Home Infusion Therapy Services Monitoring

The HIT monitoring report (PDF)  for January 2022 summarizes utilization for the HIT service visits, characteristics of HIT users, and characteristics of DME/HIT supplier organizations for Quarter 1 2019 to Quarter 1 2021. 

Home Infusion Therapy Payment Policy Questions

For questions about home infusion therapy payment policy, please view the Home Infusion Therapy Services Benefit Beginning 2021, Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) document or send your inquiry via email to: [email protected]


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