alternatives to twice a day taxi rides for medical care?
March 12, 2009 3:17 PM   Subscribe

A family member currently needs intravenous shots twice a day. Her insurance company won't pay for a nurse to come give her the shots. Are there other services that will do this?

She has a pic line; apparently she can't just give herself the medication. She's been told that she does not have home health care coverage and that it would be $120/day to have a nurse come from the doctor's office to do it. She's retired, and has Aetna health insurance and Medicare.

Right now, the family is setting up a rotation and getting her there twice a day, seven days a week. But is there some other kind of service that would be able to do this? A non profit? A private nurse who might do it for $200/week? (I gather it's a very quick procedure -- a shot, not a big bag of stuff.) She can't drive -- what do people do who can't drive and don't have families who can provide for this??
posted by dpx.mfx to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
Is there any reason that you or another family member can't learn to give the shot? My Mom is a nurse and has told me about situations where she has trained a family member to give proper injections.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 3:25 PM on March 12, 2009

Response by poster: Cat Pie -- I'm told (third hand) that it has to do with the fact that the pic line has to stay clear and be flushed, and that the medicine has to go directly into the vein. We're pretty familiar with sub q injections around here, this seems to require more.
posted by dpx.mfx at 3:35 PM on March 12, 2009

When my wife was ill, I - someone with no medical training whatsoever - did just this, including flushing. It is very easy to learn and very easy to do, as long as you do it slowly and carefully.
posted by TheRaven at 4:00 PM on March 12, 2009

You can learn to do it yourself. The first few times will make you anxious and then you'll get used to it. A nurse should teach you how to inject and flush properly as well as what signs of problems to look out for (at the first sign of infection you should get help as a pic line infection has very serious consequences).
posted by serazin at 4:04 PM on March 12, 2009

Who inserted the PICC line originally? Can you or another family member talk to the doctor who originally ordered the PICC or his/her staff? They may be able to give you information about who might help you locally.

Who is currently doing the dressing changes for the PICC? This person might be another resource. I've had a few PICCs and did learn how to administer medications (plus flushing the line) myself. I did have a home nurse do dressing changes once a week though.

If the above don't help, you may want to try calling local hospitals or nursing agencies for suggestions. Good luck to you.
posted by wiskunde at 4:08 PM on March 12, 2009

In my area, people with medicaid/medicare can get free transportation to/from medical appointments via a shuttle. It looks like an ambulance, but it's really just used to cart people to/from the doctors. It's mostly elderly who use it (here, at least) and they pick up and drop off door to door. Call the number on the medicaid card to ask about something like this. I live in a fairly rural area, and they also had something similar when I lived in the city.
posted by Lullen at 5:26 PM on March 12, 2009

My dad has to have a lot of medical procedures and has no family locally. When I cannot get there to take him, he arranges with a local medical shuttle company. There are some who accept Medicare/Medicaid, and some who charge very little.

Call the local hospital and ask for patient services. See if they can give you a list of local transportation companies that take Medicare. When my dad was discharged from the hospital, they gave us a preprinted list of service providers like that.
posted by bedhead at 8:11 PM on March 12, 2009

Patient services may also be able to provide your family member with taxi vouchers if a shuttle service is not an option. When I was going through chemo, the shuttle service didn't start early enough for me, so this was the solution. Likewise, trying contacting local taxi companies and asking if they provide vouchers or lower-cost rides for patients receiving care at your local hospital.

Also, if there is a support group in the area for people with your family member's illness, it is worth contacting the group facilitator for information on transportation or alternatives to having the injection done on-site at the hospital.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 4:16 PM on March 13, 2009

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