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Ep. 206 - LiveWell Talk On...Infusion Services (Jeremy Hague, RN)

episode 206

Ep. 206 - LiveWell Talk On...Infusion Services

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Host: Dr. Dustin Arnold, chief medical officer, UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital

Guest: Jeremy Haguemanager, St. Luke's Outpatient Infusion Center

Dr. Arnold:
This is LiveWell Talk On...infusion services. I'm Dr. Dustin Arnold, chief medical officer at UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital. Joining on the podcast today is friend and colleague, Jeremy Hague, who's the nurse manager for St. Luke's Outpatient Infusion Center. We're going to discuss just what is an infusion center, as well as the role that the infusion center team played during the pandemic. Jeremy, welcome.

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for having me, Dustin.

Dr. Arnold:
Well, in full disclosure, I am also the medical director of the infusion center. So I have an intimate relationship with them and understand what they do. But I don't think the average listener, I don't think the average employee or associated the hospital might know, what is the infusion center?

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah. Well, we're kind of hidden in the back corner of the hospital here. But the infusion center is an outpatient department within the hospital that specializes in injections and infusions. That's the short version of it. Kind of more specifically, we do a lot of different treatments through the IV, we do a lot of blood transfusions. We do antibiotics and a lot of different IV treatments for folks with chronic illness. So it's a wide variety of different services we provide up there.

Dr. Arnold:
Yeah. And you have some first time and only time customers, or patients, I should say. But also we have ones that come back routinely for iron infusions, immunoglobulin. And then all the new, I mean, the listeners have seen all the commercials for treating psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease. All those newer medications are delivered up there. But you also have some rare ones. We have a Gaucher’s, correct? And Fabry's, which are fairly rare.

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah. Pompe's as well.

Dr. Arnold:
Pompe's, yeah.

Jeremy Hague:
I was going to say, that's one of the great things about the infusion center. I think we get to see some of the quick one time things, but we do get to build a relationship with some of these patients that I've been taking care of, that we've been taking care of for 15 years.

Dr. Arnold:
Yeah. When did it, how long has it been over in four east?

Jeremy Hague:
So we moved down there in October of 2010, so we've been there about 12 years.

Dr. Arnold:
10. Okay.

Jeremy Hague:
Before there, we were a part of—

Dr. Arnold:
Five center.

Jeremy Hague:
Correct, up on the fifth floor.

Dr. Arnold:
The infusion center played a critical role in the pandemic on several— First of all, I'm always impressed with you guys, as far as your leadership and the nurses that work with you and Tara. You know, that they consistently are problem solvers. You know, you guys just always have the solution to the problem, you know, right away. And I really respect that. And that happened a lot during the pandemic, didn't it? As far as the monoclonal antibodies.

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah, for sure. I appreciate the kind words. Great team, like you mentioned. We couldn't have gone through this this whirlwind the last couple years without a great team up in the infusion center. You know, I think first of all, when the pandemic hit, people were scared to come in. They were fearful and we really had to focus on how we can get our chronic patients in here. So actually the location we're sitting in right now was an injection clinic we set up right away. So that patients could come in, they'd come just right inside the door, get their treatment and get out. It kind of eased a lot of fears. It got people in and out of here. So they were getting those medications for their chronic illness. So that was kind of the first step, early steps, when it came to the pandemic and COVID. Then as you mentioned, as the emergency usage authorization for some of these monoclonal antibodies came out, we really kind of had a surge of referrals and patients coming in for those treatments.

Dr. Arnold:
Yeah. I mean, well over 1500 doses were delivered, right?

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah.

Dr. Arnold:
I have to look, I mean, it might be close to 2000.

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah. I took a peek here this morning. I think it was probably right around 1750.

Dr. Arnold:
That sounds about right.

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah. We started off doing these in a couple different locations, remote locations in the hospital. And it just got to be so, kind of— With so many referrals and so many patients coming in, we actually opened a remote location down the road in the 717 building down on A avenue. And you know, in the height of infusions, we were doing close to 20 a day, six days a week, some weeks. So it was busy. I had such a great group over there as well. It was a combination of my team here in the infusion center that were, again, taking a lot of these calls and scheduling. But I really had some outpouring help from other departments, such as labor and delivery, emergency services, diabetes education, and other departments of the hospital that really stepped up and helped out. Helped care for these patients in a service that was really needed the community.

Dr. Arnold:
And I think it's important to stress, too, that you have infected patients that have been exposed and ill and are getting the monoclonal antibody. You don't want to put them in with your chemotherapy patients or your healthy patients, or non-ill patients up in the infusion center. So we had to go out to the 717.

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah, correct.

Dr. Arnold:
You know, when I first came to town, I had an office there.

Jeremy Hague:
I know you did.

Dr. Arnold:
Do they still have the Mike Brady paneling from his den on the Brady bunch?

Jeremy Hague:
It definitely could use some updates there.

Dr. Arnold:
Yeah.

Jeremy Hague:
But, you know, it served its purpose. It was like I said, we rolled, oh gosh, quite a few patients through that. It was convenient. The parking was great. So it definitely was a facility that worked well.

Dr. Arnold:
Yeah. There are some pluses to it. It's hard to get out of there, though, like at four o'clock at night, 4:30, almost impossible to get out of there.

Jeremy Hague:
Depending on which way you're going. You're stuck heading to first avenue, like it or not.

Dr. Arnold:
Yeah. So, you know, I brought this out on a recent podcast and I'm going bring it out again just for listeners. Because this is important for me to stress to people that aren't in healthcare. You know, often—and this happened with you—the schedule is full for the day and then we get a call of someone that we just got to get it in today. There's just, we have to get it in today. And I think people sometimes think that maybe we weren't really full, right?

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah.

Dr. Arnold:
And I try to stress and I stressed it on the last podcast, or recent one. No, somebody missed a lunch. Somebody called their spouse to pick the child up from daycare because they're going to stay late. Because that's the healthcare we want to give our loved ones, right?

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah.

Dr. Arnold:
And I really admire that about all the service lines because they're consistent on that. But I think your team does that well. You always just say, okay, if this was my dad, he needs to get this, we're going to do it. And I really appreciate that. And that you never say no.

Jeremy Hague:
You know, I appreciate that. And we take pride in that. If someone needs to come in, we do everything in our power to get them in as soon as possible. You know, we try and get same-day appointments within 12-24 hours. Like you said, that's how I'd want to be treated and that's how I'd want my parents to be treated too.

Dr. Arnold:
And also I think, I mean, I know they do it because of volume and stuff, but the University sends us a lot of patients.

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah. We get patients from the University of Iowa, we get patients from Mayo Clinics. We even get, you know, referrals from down the street at our neighboring hospital. So we take care of the entire community. And again, pride ourselves on that.

Dr. Arnold:
I know you didn't go to nursing school to be manager of the infusion center, you didn't have that in your plans. How did you kind of end up here? Can you tell us?

Jeremy Hague:
You know—

Dr. Arnold:
Kelly Printy didn't want you on five center anymore, so she said, just get him off the floor.

Jeremy Hague:
You know, I've done a little bit of this and that. I've been in the hospital here for, oh gosh, creeping up on 22 years now. And I really kind of fell into it to be honest with you. I was working up on oncology, Kelly Printy, you know, me and her used to do infusions.

Dr. Arnold:
Yeah.

Jeremy Hague:
In a little suite that we had set up there. And again, just started doing those more and more. And we really got to appreciate it, you know, and I enjoy doing that type of nursing. It's something different than working on the floor. It's fast paced in a different way. And honestly, I wanted to start IVs. I love poking people and getting IVs started. And that's really kind of what started the drive and what kept me there, really, and probably what's more important, is the people. You know, getting that connection with our patients. The connection we have, I think we have a great rapport with not only our UnityPoint providers, but other providers in the community.

Dr. Arnold:
I'm going to brag. We're the go-to infusion center, whether it's UnityPoint independent, Mercy, they give us a call.

Jeremy Hague:
Almost always.

Dr. Arnold:
And I'm proud of that.

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah, me too. It's a great team, and like I said, it takes a team to do all that. And I can't say that enough. I mean, the group up there is, you know, is as good as you could imagine. They're just fantastic.

Dr. Arnold:
Listeners should know I always threaten Jeremy. If we come up with a plan and it goes wrong, I'm going to blame him. But I can honestly say I've never had to do that because you've always been right. So that's important.

Jeremy Hague:
Well, we're fortunate to have a great medical director. My director, you know, is always there to support. So you know, it's been great to have a good—

Dr. Arnold:
That's been a good relationship with Sandy taking that. Sandy McIntosh, hasn't it?

Jeremy Hague:
Yeah. When they first said we were going to emergency services, as far as our grouping within the hospital, I thought it was an odd mix at first, but it really has been fantastic. She's a great leader. And then we actually do meld more with the ED and that kind of service line, than inpatient nursing. Because it's clearly, you know, quite different.

Dr. Arnold:
We get some crazy stuff sometimes. Remember the bats in the Lincoln zoo, right? Was that two years ago? Was that pre-pandemic?

Jeremy Hague:
It must have been. Yeah. We've helped out the ED with those rabies vaccinations. And we've had, you know, the camp bat stuff.

Dr. Arnold:
Yeah.

Jeremy Hague:
You never know what's going to walk in the door some days, which is fun.

Dr. Arnold:
That's what keeps it fun. Well, Jeremy, thanks for joining me today. And thank you for all that you and your team do every day during the pandemic and will continue to do. This has been great information. And again, this is Jeremy Hague, manager of St. Luke's Outpatient Infusion Center. For more information about this and all services provided at UnityPoint Health Cedar Rapids, visit UnityPoint.org.

Thank you for listening to LiveWell Talk On. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to subscribe. And if you want to spread the word, please give us a five-star review. Tell your family, friends, neighbors, strangers about our podcast. We're available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever you get your podcasts. Until next time, be well.