Choosing an infusion clinic

Choosing an infusion clinic for mood disorders

(Note that because the agent administered is a scheduled dissociative anaesthetic drug, adherence to SAHPRA guidelines and the Medicines Act precludes its mention by name within written material in the public domain.)

You have taken a big step in breaking free from depression! You may have spent considerable time comparing different treatment options and discussing these with your doctor or therapist. If you have decided that outpatient infusion therapy is the right choice for you at this time, please choose your infusion provider carefully. Here are some critical factors to consider:

The Infusion Provider

Before selecting an infusion provider for mood disorder treatment, be sure to do your research. Read reviews, testimonials, and spend time understanding their qualifications and experiences with administering infusions. Being equipped with the necessary qualifications does not necessarily mean one is proficient in delivering appropriate infusions – so be aware that simply ‘prescribing’ the infusion is not a guarantee of successful treatment.

Route of Administration (ROA) and Dose

Some providers offer the drug via an intramuscular injection or even orally. These routes are not endorsed by SASOP. Studies point to greater safety and efficacy via intravenous infusion. Ask about dosing and protocols. Are these evidence based? More is not always better! 

Clinic Facility

First impressions count. Is the facility accessible, clean and professional? Do you feel safe? Ask if the facility is accredited and complies with South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (SASA) and South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP) guidelines. Are the doctors members of Society of Sedation Practitioners of South Africa (SOSPOSA)? Are the infusions administered in a clinical (but quiet) environment with precise dosing using modern equipment? Will you be properly monitored using hospital-grade monitoring equipment? Is there immediate access to emergency drugs, oxygen and equipment? Avoid providers offering infusions in noisy day theatres and side rooms without attention to your comfort and privacy. The therapeutic environment is crucial.

Staff

Only a doctor may prescribe and administer the infusions. Are they adequately qualified, experienced, and accredited to administer an anaesthetic agent? Is the nursing staff professional and experienced? Do you find the staff generally empathetic, helpful and friendly?

Supportive Care

Does the clinic monitor your progress using questionnaires like the PHQ-9 and GAD-7? Will the clinic collaborate with and keep your own doctor updated throughout and after your infusion series? If you don’t have a referring doctor, does the clinic offer access to an in-house mental wellness care-team (psychiatrist and therapists) via face-to-face or virtual consultations? Has the clinic explained that you will probably need maintenance infusions to maintain remission, and that the infusions are an effective treatment but not a cure for depression?

Cost

Is the clinic approved by your medical aid scheme to administer the infusion treatment, and will the clinic assist you with motivation for benefits? Do the costs seem reasonable and has the clinic explained the cost breakdown? If you are not covered by a medical aid scheme, does the clinic offer any other financing options? Various Medical Aids have provided benefits to patients but these vary from patient to patient and are dependent on the medical aid plan you are on. Beware of providers that claim that Medical Aids will cover the (FULL) cost of the infusion.

Some red flags to look out for

  • Providers who make unsupported claims about the efficacy of the infusions.
  • Providers without verifiable accreditations and professional standing.
  • Providers who offer the infusions as ‘add-ons’ to the routine work conducted at their facility.
  • Inadequate staffing levels or ‘solo’ practitioners.
  • Providers who don’t take the time to get to know you, discuss your medical background, medication, and conduct a pre-anaesthetic assessment, but jump straight to treatment.
  • Trust your gut. If you feel uneasy about the infusion provider, you are probably right!

You have made an important decision on your path to healing. Choosing the right infusion provider is critical. 

Contact us at KetaMind Clinics and see how we can be part of your journey!