These tips will help you be more comfortable the entire time.
Infusion therapy is not something that everyone experiences. If your doctor recommends infusion therapy to treat your illness, it’s understandable if you have some nerves. What should you expect for your first infusion appointment?
The good news is that infusion therapy is less scary than it sounds, even if you’re not a big fan of needles (and who is?). For your first infusion appointment, you’ve heard it will take a few hours. To make that time fly by comfortably, here’s what you should expect.
What To Expect at Your First Infusion Appointment
1. Dress for comfort
Treatment for a serious or chronic illness can be stressful. It might help to think of your infusion appointment as a chance to relax. You may feel weak or tired during the infusion, so it helps to be comfortable. Dress in your favorite lounging clothes and be ready to sit back, relax, and watch some TV.
Plus, some clinics can often be cold, so come prepared. Consider your stretchiest pants, fuzziest socks, and warmest sweater. There may be a blanket available for you to use, or you might be able to ask for one.
2. You’ll likely have a mini suite or “pod” to yourself
Every infusion center is a little different. It might be a small room with a row of chairs, spaced out or with curtains. Other infusion centers might have a hallway that leads to several small infusion suites. Either way, they usually try to give you some sense of privacy and comfort.
At your station or in your “pod,” you’ll likely have a big, comfy chair, a TV, blankets upon request, a remote to control the TV (as well as request help from your care team), and an outlet to charge electronics.
Since infusion centers can vary, ask the nurse what you’ll have access to. That way, you can be prepared for future appointments.
3. Bring snacks and entertainment
Check with your doctor if it’s okay to eat before or during infusion. It may vary depending on your illness and treatment. Chances are, the infusion center will have some snacks, but you might not like what they have on hand. Bring a bag with some of your favorite foods to munch on.
It’s also a good idea to bring some entertaining items to help pass the time. After all, daytime television isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Ideas of items to bring include:
- A laptop
- Crossword puzzles or word searches
- A magazine
- A sketchbook or coloring book
Once you’re done, you might need to hang around for observation. It may be a long day, and your medication may come with side effects. (For example, here are potential side effects to expect after chemotherapy.) For this reason, you’ll likely want to take it easy for the rest of the day.
With these tips, your first appointment will be easier, and you’ll be a pro in no time.
- What to expect on your first day of chemotherapy. Houston, TX: MD Anderson Cancer Center. (Accessed May 7, 2021).
- Rituximab (Rituxan and MabThera). Atlanta, GA: American College of Rheumatology. (Accessed May 7, 2021).
- Getting Biologic Infusions for Arthritis: 12 Common Questions, Answered. Upper Nyack, NY: Creaky Joints. (Accessed May 7, 2021).