Monoclonal antibodies, administered by infusion, have been shown to help patients infected with COVID-19 combat the virus by blocking the virus that causes COVID-19 from attaching to human cells, making it more difficult for the virus to reproduce and cause harm. Monoclonal antibodies may also neutralize a virus. In December of 2021, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital began offering this potentially life-saving treatment to patients in the Outpatient Infusion Clinic.
To qualify for monoclonal antibody therapy, patients must be within 10 days of a COVID-19 diagnosis and have an underlying condition that would put them at risk for developing severe disease. “Here at BWFH, we can treat one to two patients per day with monoclonal antibody therapy depending on availability of the medications,” says Assistant Nurse Director for Ambulatory Services Erin Kelleher, BSN, RN. “Patients who qualify are contacted by a nurse to confirm their appointment and receive instructions. At the appointed time, a nurse meets the patient in the parking lot. In order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to staff and other patients, the nurse gives them a mask and a patient ID sticker outside and walks them straight into the isolation room in our Outpatient Infusion Clinic. Once inside the room, the patient undergoes a brief assessment by a provider and the pharmacy delivers the medication to be infused. The infusion itself takes just 30 minutes but the patient must remain in the isolation room for a one-hour observation period. At the end of the treatment, the patient is escorted back outside.”
Associate Chief Nurse, Perianesthesia, Procedural and Ambulatory Services Robin Kaufman, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, NEA-BC, credits the interdisciplinary team led by Senior Director of Strategic Implementation, Ambulatory and Clinical Program Development Linda Burgoon and comprised of Kelleher, Professional Development Manager Lauren Donovan, MSN, RN, the clinical staff and physician leadership in the Outpatient Infusion Clinic and the hospital’s infection control team for designing a safe and efficient process. “This is one of the few areas in the hospital that, up until now, has not cared for many COVID-19 positive patients,” explains Kaufman. “Some of our infusion patients come to us on a weekly basis and really become like family to the clinical staff, so I was not surprised when the staff wanted to consider everything possible to make this the safest, best process. The team relied on all available evidence and expertise in developing a plan of care that would ensure safety for all of our patients and staff until we all felt we were ready to welcome these patients. Watching this group of experts come together was the special part of all of this in addition to making a brand-new, life-saving service available to our patients here at BWFH.”
Kelleher says the process is working well. In fact, many familiar faces have benefited from the new treatment. “A lot of the patients we have seen so far are actually patients already known to the department,” explains Kelleher. “The nurses have a genuine involvement with these patients because they have known them for years.”
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