Accredo Nurses: Caring for the Entire Family by Going the Extra Mile – Literally

For many Accredo patients with complex therapy regimens, a family vacation can pose complex challenges. Five infusion nurses took on that challenge.
Caring for the Family

It’s time to start thinking about summer vacations, which most of us have experienced, and perhaps have taken for granted. For many Accredo patients, however, vacations may not be possible, or at the very least can be difficult, due to complex therapy regimens. Thanks to a team of Accredo nurses, who are never short on creative ideas or commitment, one very special patient banked some great summer vacation memories!

A patient, I’ll call Anthony, is one of Accredo’s many young hemophilia patients treated prophylactically with recombinant factor intravenously multiple times per week. Due to his condition, Anthony had never left his hometown. Then, he got the surprise of a lifetime when his father planned a fantastic summer trip for the family, across the Midwest and spanning 11 states. Anthony’s father knew that this trip may be impossible but he proposed the idea to his son’s Accredo nurse.

A considerable amount of planning was needed to make this trip possible, and our Accredo team was ready to support the family’s dream vacation in any way that we could. This included planning for appropriate storage for the drug, since there would be long days of driving, hotel considerations regarding refrigeration, and let’s not forget about scheduled dosing requirements and potential emergency dosing requirements. Anthony and his family were not yet independent in starting the patient’s intravenous line and would need nursing support at multiple points during this extensive road trip and in multiple states. This would require significant planning on our part to make sure that we could meet their needs.

With more than 550 registered nurses in almost 45 locations across the United States, Accredo is everywhere the family was headed.

Every state has different laws and regulations which we need to adhere to in order to see patients in their home – or in this case, a hotel. Our vast coverage area makes it possible for patients to remain mobile and yet still receive the care they need.

Through the work and collaboration of five infusion nurses, we were able to plan ahead to strategize where we could meet the patient along his journey. You see, on some days of his vacation, Anthony wouldn’t reach a hotel until late at night, or he may be leaving at the crack of dawn, so visit planning had to be perfect in order for this trip to continue and for the family to accomplish all their stops along the way. We coordinated the times and sites for Anthony’s infusions and created back-up plans. We sent our nurses to infuse Anthony in Chicago, Redwood Falls, Minn., and St. Louis. All visits were conducted without an issue and had no impact on the family’s very tight itinerary.

The next challenge was to provide the family with a list of hospitals along their entire route. The hospitals needed to be equipped for emergency pediatric care and needed to be no more than 2-3 hours apart at any point since that would be the acceptable time to treat Anthony for any unintended bleeding episodes. Our team identified 21 hospitals along the family’s driving route. We were now confident that we could provide coverage for any issue that may occur during his stays or along the way.

The trip started one morning in July when Anthony’s father woke him up to tell him they were going on a trip. He had no idea where they were going but knew that they would be gone for more than a week. They left their home in the northeast and proceeded on their adventure. The trip lasted nearly 10 days and spanned 11 states. Their stops included the Willis Tower in Chicago, the Great Wolf Lodge in the Wisconsin Dells, and Sioux Falls, Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, the St. Louis Zoo, and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn. Anthony was also able to meet family members that he had never met or had not seen in many years.

At Accredo, we put our patients at the center of everything we do, and we’re proud of our nurses who helped Anthony make the trip of a lifetime.

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