New infusion program makes treatments available close to home

North Big Horn Hospital made it a bit easier for patients requiring regular infusion treatments to receive those treatments closer to home. New equipment and a dedicated room for the services

Hospital employee Barbara Gray and nurse Ruth Montanez check out the new infusion equipment installed on Friday at North Big Horn Hospital in a special room dedicated to providing these services.
Patti Carpenter photo

was put into place at the hospital last week. The new equipment includes infusion pumps and special chairs designed to make the treatments, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours, as comfortable as possible for the patient.

Infusions are ordered by a patient’s provider in cases of chronic infections, immune disorders like MS or lupus, electrolyte disorders, therapeutic phlebotomy and as a specialized treatment for other serious medical conditions.

“We think having a pleasant environment and treatments at the same location each time will be a much better experience for the patient,” said Chief of Nursing Tina Toner. “Currently, some patients have to travel all the way to Billings for these kinds of treatments.”

Barbara Gray, an employee in the hospital’s phlebotomy department and a patient who receives regular infusions, said she thinks it will be a great benefit for the patient to be able to receive the treatments closer to home, since oftentimes they are too tired to drive long distances afterward.

Funding for the new equipment was provided by the North Big Horn Hospital Foundation. The foundation is hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, April 29 at the Lovell Community Center. The annual fundraiser is part of an ongoing effort by the group to fund items, like the new equipment that is being used for infusions, and other equipment the hospital district is not able to purchase within its regular budget.

By Patti Carpenter