Planning For Chair Time: Tips from an MS One to One Nurse By MS One to One • April 20, 2017
I’m Marcia and I’m an MS One to One Nurse. Over the years I’ve found that many of the relapsing MS patients I speak to have really done their research and tried to prepare for treatment to the best of their abilities.
But sometimes, there’s more to the picture than my patients think—like discussions with insurance companies, specifics about planning for treatment, and learning how to take care of themselves after treatment. And I’m honored to be there for them, to help fill in the blanks and support them through any challenges that may come their way.
One thing I do for my patients when it’s getting close to their infusion time is call them to make sure they have all their ducks in a row. There are some things they may not have thought of, and some questions they may want to ask. My goal during that conversation is to go over these things, so when their infusion day comes, it goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some of the things I like to make sure my patients do:
- Get directions to the infusion center and take a look at the regular traffic in that area, because the last thing you want is to be stressed about traffic on the morning of your infusion day.
- Create a game plan for who’s driving. Some patients like to get a ride to and from the infusion center, but some prefer to drive themselves, and if that’s the case, I recommend they come up with a backup plan in case they don’t feel up to driving afterwards.
- Decide what to do for the day. Pick out what to wear (I usually recommend wearing layers), and decide what you’re bringing to the infusion center—I’ll touch on this more later. Remember if you’re bringing electronics don’t forget the power cords, because it can be a long day.
- Get in touch with the infusion center beforehand and ask about their guest policies, as well as their food and drink policies. Some infusion centers provide food and drinks, but others don’t. No matter what the policy is, always bring a lot of water with you to stay hydrated.
- Take a look at your daily life and how your infusion days may affect it. You may need to make arrangements for your kids, parents, or pets, and you should ask your employer about coverage for your job, in case you don’t feel up to working during or after your infusion.
- Talk to your infusion nurse. It’s important that you understand the pre-medications you’ll be taking and also find out how to report side effects (and always report them right away). Be sure to get the number of the infusion center in case you experience side effects after leaving.
When it comes to packing for the infusion day, I tell my patients to bring a “LEMTRADA bag.” Now everyone’s LEMTRADA bag will have different things in it when all is said and done, but every LEMTRADA patient receives a special package in the mail for infusion days, and that’s a good place to start. Each bag has a blanket, chapstick, and a water bottle inside, which many of my patients find very helpful during infusions.
The other things you bring depend on YOU! Maybe you want to listen to music, play games on a tablet, work, or watch movies. Whatever you want to do, remember to bring anything you need to do it, like headphones for music and a tablet or laptop for working or watching movies. Also if you take any medicines regularly, for example, insulin if you’re diabetic, don’t forget to bring those either.
Now it’s finally here—the big day!
When you arrive at the infusion center, you’re probably well prepared with your LEMTRADA bag and the information you need, but you may still feel a little nervous or overwhelmed, and that’s ok!
I always like to point out to my patients that when you go to one of these infusion centers, you’re in good hands. What I really like about LEMTRADA is that each LEMTRADA infusion center (and each healthcare provider who prescribes LEMTRADA) has been certified by a special program, called the REMS program. That means each nurse is trained to infuse LEMTRADA, track side effects during your infusions, and do everything they can to make you as comfortable as possible before, during, and after your infusion.
So when you’re planning for chair time, my one piece of advice for you would be to plan and really think it through. The more prepared you are for treatment, the more comfortable you’ll feel going in. And I can honestly say that many of my patients are very appreciative of this advice and they go into treatment with a positive attitude.
In fact, I recently received a voicemail from one of my patients and it really touched my heart. She said that she loved having me as her nurse and that she appreciated my caring and kindness. Those are the types of messages that make me love my job, and motivate me to keep helping others.
I really hope you feel the same way about your MS One to One Nurse, and when it comes to preparing for chair time, remember to ask your MS One to One Nurse any questions you may have. We all love helping out where we can and making sure you have all the information you need to make the most of your infusion days. Give us a buzz if you need anything!
You can reach MS One to One at 1-855-676-6326.
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