Home Intravenous (IV) therapy service

Introduction

Welcome to our Home Intravenous (IV) therapy service. We provide Home IVs to our adult and paediatric respiratory patients, so that they can be treated in the most appropriate setting for them, and in the comfort of their own home if they choose to.

Home IVs are offered as a treatment option to patients after an assessment by a multi-disciplinary team. If you are assessed as suitable for home treatment, you will attend our Heart and Lung Day Case Unit at Royal Brompton Hospital for your first dose of medication and to learn how to do IV treatment at home.

We have provided some useful resources on this page to support you at home – including a Q&A on everything you need to know about the Home IV therapy service and treatment.

We have also produced a leaflet that provides further information about home IV therapy here. Please note: the information in the leaflet and on this page is a general guide to the Home Intravenous therapy service and intravenous medication and do not replace the need for personal advice from a healthcare professional.

You can find a list of FAQs on our Home IV therapy service below, alongside contact details of relevant teams in case if you have any further questions.

Frequently asked questions

Home IV is essentially intravenous medicine taken at home.

Medicines are used to fight against diseases and infections in your body. They can be given orally (by mouth) or injected into a vein. When these medicines are injected, it is called intravenous (IV) or parenteral therapy. These are usually administered to patients in hospital, but they can also be given safely in an outpatient clinic or at home.

When given in a clinic or at home, this is called outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy (OPAT). If you are receiving OPAT at home, then a nurse can visit you daily to administer the dose or you or a loved one will be taught how to self-administer the medicines.

The medicine is given into a vein through a small narrow flexible tube called a catheter or IV line. The IV line is inserted directly into a vein using a needle. The needle is removed, and the IV line is left in place and secured by a dressing.  

There are different types of IV lines available and the one chosen for your treatment will depend on your veins and how long you will need the medicines for. You will be given further information about the IV line used in your treatment and how to care for it by a specialist nurse. Before you are discharged from hospital you will also be given a plan for what to do if there are any issues with the IV line.

To determine whether Home IV therapy is the best course of treatment for you, you will be given a consultation and assessment with your care team to discuss your options and next steps.

The process will be explained to you fully so you can decide whether you would like to proceed with this treatment. If you decide to proceed then arrangements will be made to start training and treatment as soon as possible.

No, you can choose between Home IV therapy and having your treatment in hospital and you will not be discharged onto the Home IV therapy service if you do not wish to be. If you choose not to go onto the service, we will discuss alternative options for your treatment with you.

Home IV therapy allows you to be at home, in a comfortable and familiar setting rather than in the hospital. It can also help you save time and money on travel and help you maintain your independence, be back with your family and friends or even return to work.

Feedback has shown that patients would choose Home IV again rather than have a prolonged hospital stay.

The service will be tailored to your needs. Some patients choose to self-administer the medicine, or alternatively a family member or friend can take on this role. If you decide to go ahead with either of these options, then you or your family member or friend will be taught how to do this by the nursing team.

Another option is to come to hospital daily to be given the antibiotic in a hospital clinic.

These options will be discussed with you by the team so you can decide which treatment type is best for you.

  • Part one – Training materials and agreement 

You will be asked to sign a form accepting responsibility for continuing the treatment at home. You will be taught the process through a step-by-step approach to self-administer your Home IV therapy. When you are confident and can safely administer your IV medicines, you will be given information to manage this at home. Your first dose of intravenous medicine will be given in hospital and you will be asked to stay for an hour to observe how you react to the medicine.    

  • Part two – Patient/parent/carer information 

You will be given all the necessary information about the IV medicine that you will be administering at home, where you will be getting these from and how to make them up. The information provided also highlights any adverse reactions e.g. what to look out for and what to do, and you will also be given guidance on how to monitor the IV line.

Please note that if at any time you do not wish to continue with Home IV therapy or feel unable to cope, please contact a member of your clinical team to discuss this as soon as possible (details below).

Your doctor will explain how long you will need treatment for. You may require only a few days of Home IV treatment or several weeks or months, depending on the nature of the infection or disease. During your IV therapy you will be under the supervision of our specialist teams, who will review your progress each week.

You may be required to have some blood tests to ensure that you are responding to treatment and that the IV line is maintained appropriately. Your team will let you know when these will take place and where you will need to go to have these done.

You will be provided with a small supply of IV medications when you leave hospital. The remainder will be provided by a homecare company (Baxter Healthcare) and not your GP. The hospital team will be responsible for your IV prescriptions. If you, a family member or friend is administering the medication, or you need any additional supplies that the please contact the specialist nurse (details below).  

Complications on OPAT are rare but it is important to look after your IV line as directed. Very occasionally patients can get problems directly related to the antibiotic they are taking. This can occur whether you are at home or in hospital.

Some common things to look out for include the following: 

  • rash
  • diarrhoea
  • fever, feeling hot/cold, high temperature
  • pain, redness and swelling around IV line
  • blocked IV line

If you experience any of these symptoms while at home, contact us on the numbers below as soon as possible. In an emergency call 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest emergency department (A&E).

Contact us

Royal Brompton Hospital switchboard Telephone: 020 7352 8121
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) clinical nurse specialist (CNS)

Telephone: 020 7351 8065

Email: cfhomecare@rbht.nhs.uk
CF registrar Bleep 1011 (from switchboard)
CF out-of-hours Bleep 1097 / 1099 (from switchboard)
Host defence infection team and primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) CNS

Bleep 1005 (from switchboard)
Host defence email: HostDefence@rbht.nhs.uk
PCD email: AdultPCD@rbht.nhs.uk 

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) CNS

Mobile: 07891 583 141

Email: ILD@rbht.nhs.uk 
CF physiotherapists

Bleep: 7302 or 7310 (from switchboard)

Email: CFAdultPhysio@rbht.nhs.uk
CF dietitians

Bleep: 7100 (from switchboard)

Email: CFdiet@rbht.nhs.uk
CF pharmacists

Email: CFAdultPharmacy@rbht.nhs.uk

Baxter Healthcare Telephone: 01727 849 720


We will be updating this page with further guidance and videos to support you with your Home IV treatment, so please check back regularly for updates.

Share