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How to support your loved one during their infusion therapy

Welcome, husband, wife, daughter, son, stepdaughter, stepson, friend, neighbor, co-worker, auntie, grandparent, uncle...you are all care circle members! As one of the most important parts of your loved one’s healing, we hope this guide will inform, comfort, educate, and help you support your loved one. We want to support you so that you can be there for them.

female with cancer and her support person

What can I expect?

While each treatment may be different, most visits will follow this similar pattern:

When you arrive for your loved one’s treatment, the infusion nurse will review the treatment plan. The nurse will obtain a set of vital signs and a weight. Labs will be drawn, if needed. Once the nurse knows your loved one meets criteria to receive treatment, they will ask the pharmacy to prepare the medicine. Once it is ready, two nurses will check the medicine and begin giving the treatment.

Once the treatment is done, the nurse will remove any IV's that are no longer needed. The nurse will then make sure that your loved one has been scheduled for any follow-up appointments.

How can I help my loved one?

Being with your loved one during infusion therapy can provide a calming presence. Your loved one may have limited mobility during treatment. Please feel free to comfort them in the way you know best. Here are some suggestions:

Nourishment

  • Ask for snacks or beverages for your loved one or yourself.
  • Feel free to bring food or beverages from home.

Activities

  • Play games or do an activity. 
  • Bring ear buds and binge watch a show or other entertainment on your personal devices.
  • Bring puzzles you can do together.
  • Surprise your loved one by bringing in an activity that they have always wanted to do, but haven't had the time.

Other types of support

  • Adjust the lighting by opening or closing the curtains or blinds.
  • Hold hands with your loved one.
  • Change the TV channel or adjust the volume.
  • Provide your loved one with a relaxing hand or foot massage.
  • Offer your loved one a warm blanket or bring a special blanket from home.
  • Help with the IV pole if your loved one needs to use the restroom.
  • Help with putting on the call light if there is a need.
 
hands cradling coffee cup during cancer treatment

Take a look at the comfort menu for many more resources!

Located in each infusion bay, the comfort menu lists food, activities, integrative therapies, and other options to help your loved one feel more comfortable during their treatment. See something of interest? Please ask us about it!

 

What can I do during the infusion?

We want you to feel welcomed while you are here with us. Here are some suggestions to pass the time.

  • Use the tables and chairs in the infusion bays to eat, work or spread out.
  • Take a moment for yourself in the Family Lounge and let the nurses take care of your loved one.
  • Walk around and explore nearby walking routes or restaurants.
  • Order food from our Allina Health menu, or from an outside location (Please avoid strong smelling foods).
  • Help with scheduling follow-up appointments with the scheduler.
Love is the most important healing power there is.

What should I not do?

Your support during infusion therapy brings comfort to your loved one. While we encourage you to do whatever you feel will be most beneficial, there are a few limitations to make sure the space is comfortable, safe and calming for all.

  • Please do not bring in fresh plants or flowers.
  • Please do not adjust medical equipment or silence any alarm.
  • Smell alert! Your loved one may develop a heightened sensitivity to smell. Please keep scents (including strong smelling foods) out of the infusion center.
  • We love homemade goodies, but we cannot share them in our treatment center. Please do not bring homemade gifts to share.
cancer treatment infusion center family lounge

Space for you

Located in the infusion center, the Family Lounge is your space for relaxing, snacks, and amenities during your loved one’s treatment. All Allina Health Cancer Institute (AHCI) locations offer a variety of spaces to visit, artwork to enjoy, food and beverage options, and even walking routes to stretch your legs. Please ask an AHCI Host, health care provider, or volunteer for more information about any of these options.