Questions? We Have Answers.

Renal Nutrition
Targeted Drug Delivery
How long will I need to be on IDPN/IPN therapy?

You will receive IDPN/IPN therapy during each dialysis treatment. Your doctor and dietitian will monitor your progress closely through lab tests and other evaluations. When your protein returns to normal levels, they will determine when to discontinue therapy. You might take a “holiday” from the therapy to see if you can maintain your nutrition levels on your own. Each individual responds differently to therapy, so the length of time therapy is administered will vary from person to person.

How can IDPN/IPN therapy help me?

Dialysis patients have higher nutritional needs, especially protein. Some dialysis patients may not have a good appetite or find it difficult to tolerate or afford oral nutritional supplements. IDPN/IPN therapies can provide significant amounts of necessary protein without requiring you to drink or eat. Protein is essential for tissue repair and wound healing as well as protecting you against infections. Dialysis patients need approximately 50% more protein than people not receiving treatments.

What is IPN?

Intraperitoneal Nutrition (IPN) is a therapy that provides protein as part of your regular dialysis regimen. Your Pentec Health nurse will add protein to your cycler or CAPD bag by removing some of the dextrose. The IPN will also provide the dialysis that is prescribed. Your doctor and dietitian can determine if you could benefit from IPN therapy.

Are there any side effects to IPN?

Because Pentec Health’s IPN therapy is individualized and prepared safely based on your patient’s current PD regimen, he or she should not experience any side effects. If dehydration, or any other reported side effect does occur, a Renal Clinical Case Manager or Pharmacist can help determine the cause and treat it accordingly. Sometimes, dehydration can occur if the IPN is providing additional ultrafiltration.

How do I get help if I have any problems?

Patients served by Pentec Health can contact our nursing and pharmacy personnel 24/7 to address any health-related issues. If the problem you are experiencing is beyond our ability to help, we will contact your physician and work closely with him or her. Pentec Health has more than 15 years of experience managing patients with IT pumps, so chances are good that we can help you immediately.

How do I know if my insurance will pay for your in-home service?

Once you and your doctor decide that our in-home nursing service is right for you, our team of reimbursement specialists will work with your insurance company to determine your coverage level. We will contact you with the information obtained from your health plan about your benefits and out-of-pocket costs before we start caring for you at home.  Pentec Health contracts with many health plans and insurance companies, and each offers different levels of coverage. Medicare and Medicaid are also particularly restrictive about what is covered at home. You will have the final say about in-home treatment, of course. But if you can’t afford your portion of the bill, we may be able to help.

What can I expect during the initial visit from my Pentec Health nurse?

A Pentec Health nurse will call you a day or two before the scheduled appointment to confirm that the date and time still work for you. You can expect your Pentec Health nurse to arrive at your home within 30 minutes of the agreed-upon time. There are some admission forms for you to sign and the nurse will explain the entire refill process to you. The initial visit will last about two hours. A complete medical history and medication profile will be completed along with a physical examination that includes a pain or spasticity assessment. Your nurse will have all the necessary equipment and medication with him or her to perform your pump refill. He or she will also provide you with a copy of the telemetry printout as well as emergency contact information, so you can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
Before your nurse leaves, the two of you can decide on a convenient date for your next visit.

What can I expect during routine visits from my Pentec Health nurse?

A Pentec Health nurse will call you a day or two before your scheduled appointment to confirm that the date and time still work for you. Your nurse will arrive within 30 minutes of the agreed-upon time with all the necessary equipment and medication to perform the pump refill. Your nurse is there for you, so take full advantage of his or her expertise. He or she will ask how you are feeling and if you experienced any changes since the last visit. The nurse will take your vital signs and do a head-to-toe assessment of your bodily functions to uncover any issues you may be having, whether these issues are with the pump or otherwise. If your doctor ordered any changes to your pump medication(s), your nurse will review that with you before performing the refill. You will always be given a copy of your telemetry printout to keep with you in case of emergency. Before leaving, the two of you can decide on a convenient date for your next visit.

Who performs pump refills?

Most patients are forced to go to their doctor’s office or hospital for routine refills because very few companies are qualified to provide this service in the home. Pentec Health is the exception to the rule. Our team of highly trained nurses has years of experience providing in-home care to patients with implanted pumps. We utilize a primary care nursing model to ensure continuity of care. This allows you to develop a long-term relationship with your nurse.

Is in-home care right for me?

Regardless of why you have an implanted pump, in-home care is an attractive option for you. Patients who experience physical discomfort during transportation, who live long distances from the doctor’s office, who require frequent pump refills or who have caregiver support issues all benefit immensely from the convenience of Pentec Health’s in-home nursing service. We don’t replace your doctor, but we act as an in-home extension of your doctor’s office.

How do I sign up for Pentec Health’s in-home nursing service?

You should discuss your situation with your doctor. If your doctor agrees that in-home care is appropriate for you, he or she will refer you to Pentec Health. Once that is done, our team will contact your doctor to obtain necessary medical information and your insurance company to determine your coverage for in-home care. When we have all the information we need and have secured coverage from your health plan, we will assign a Primary Care Nurse to you. He or she will contact you and your doctor to determine a convenient date to begin in-home service.

What is an intrathecal pump?

An intrathecal pump is a medical device that is surgically implanted in your abdomen, with a catheter (a small tube) running from the pump and surgically fixed to the intrathecal space around the spinal cord. The pump has a small reservoir that holds a prescribed medication. This medication is administered very slowly through the catheter to control spasticity and/or pain. The dose is determined by a doctor and then the pump is programmed to dispense that amount by a trained professional. The medication in the pump needs to be replenished regularly to control your condition. The frequency of the refilling is determined by the size of the pump’s reservoir, the concentration of the medication and the rate the medication is being pumped through the catheter.

What is intrathecal drug delivery and why is it beneficial?

Intrathecal drug delivery places medication directly into the area that surrounds the spinal cord. This method of medication delivery allows for lower dosing of drugs than would be needed orally or subcutaneously (under the skin). It also delivers highly concentrated medication directly to where it is needed, thereby minimizing side effects and maximizing effectiveness. The medication does not enter the blood stream and is very beneficial if you have chronic conditions that are difficult to control.

Can a combination of drugs go in the pump?

Yes! For example, if your doctor decides that you would benefit from a combination of pain and spasticity medications, our specialty pharmacy will work with your doctor to determine which combination of drugs is best for you.