For most people in the general public, when you think of the surgical services department at Adams Memorial Hospital you might think of Mr. Jones across the street who had his gallbladder removed, or perhaps Mrs. Smith, whose baby was delivered by C-section, or grandson Timmy who had tubes put in his ears.
There is a whole different section of the department known as ambulatory care services which provides a wide array of treatments to our patients at AMH.
These employees are the ones who care for patients providing specialty treatment outside of the operating room. It may be a person who requires daily, weekly, or monthly IV medication administration that cannot be done at home. They also manage different conditions of patients ranging from blood disorders to IV line maintenance, to pain control, and even catheter care.
Many members of the community are not aware of these services offered by AMH and many of them have to make trips to Fort Wayne or to a specialist’s office when, in fact, they could receive them right here in their home community.
For example, patients who are receiving chemotherapy often are ordered a medication known as Neulasta 24-48 hours after the treatment. In many cases, this same medication could be received in the comfort of an Ambulatory Care Service room at AMH. Think of the time and travel and convenience alone saved if done at AMH! Speak with your ordering physician to see if this could be an option available to you.
Many times it is the patient seeing a specialist from outside Adams County that is unaware they can be seen for follow-up care, treatment, and testing at AMH. Specialists may refer people here because it benefits the patient. If you had a choice of driving 60 miles to receive an IV medication administered to you—especially if you’re not feeling all that well to start with—or perhaps just a mile or two, the answer is obvious.
Here are examples of medications that can be given to patients through Ambulatory Care Services for chronic illnesses:
Rheumatoid arthritis—Remicade, Orencia, Cimzia, or Abatacept Asthma or COPD—steroid infusions such as IV SoluMedrol Immunotherapy (management of blood disorders or immune globulin deficiency)—Ivig or blood products Crohn’s Disease, Colitis—Remicade Anemia and Chronic Kidney Disease—Aranesp/Procrit Osteoporosis--Reclast Iron Deficient Anemia—Venofer
The nursing staff of Ambulatory Care Services works directly with Dr. Scott Colclasure’s Pain Clinic Monday through Friday. Patients with acute or chronic issues such as back pain, degenerative disc problems, and rediculopathy among others may require pain injections like epidurals, nerve blocks, trigger point injections or vertebroplasty.
The staff works extensively with patients needing IV therapy for hydration, antibiotics, iron treatments, or electrolyte imbalances. The antibiotic therapy may be short term or long-term, up to 6-8 weeks in duration.
One nurse noted “there are people we see quite frequently due to the nature of their treatment needs. We become a member of their family and they are in our family. We both know what the other likes to eat, what their kids or grandchildren are doing, and other things in their life. They know when they come here they will be treated like family and that’s not always the case in larger facilities.”
Some of the Ambulatory Care Services patients have central lines, PICC lines, or infusaports in place that require special IV line maintenance. Nurses care for these lines, obtain blood samples, change dressings, and educate patients regarding line care.
Persons who are anemic may need to have a blood transfusion or other blood products. The Ambulatory Services department is ready to assist. They also work with patients needing wound care or dressing changes of wounds. This could include wound vac therapy where a device is used to promote open wound healing.
Certain therapeutic procedures can help with medical conditions. For example, patients suffering with too much iron in their blood (hemochromotosis) or too many red blood cells in their body (polycythemia) may need to have a therapeutic phlebotomy performed.
Patients who are required to have urinary catheters may need to occasionally seek assistance with catheter maintenance, flushing, or irrigating the catheter.
The Ambulatory Care Services nursing staff enjoys educating their patients and family members with information regarding diseases processes, treatments, and procedures.
These are just some of the daily activities in the AMH Ambulatory Services division. Ask your personal physician today for a referral for assistance if you think they may be of help to you. The staff is always happy to answer questions from the general public and may be reached by calling 724-2145, 589-3913, or 639-3809, ext. 1885 or 1886.