April 7, 2021

Healthcare Heroes: Infusion Clinic Staff Care for COVID-19 Patients

Madison, Wisconsin - At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, staff in the UW Health Infusion Center wondered how they would contribute to the shifting needs of patients and the health system. Ultimately, they used their skills to provide lifesaving medicine not just to patients with diseases like cancer, but COVID-19 patients as well.

When monoclonal antibody treatments such as Bamlanivimab and Regeneron were approved for use with COVID-19 patients, the staff at the UW Health Infusion Center stepped up to expand their responsibilities and offer this care.

The center kept the same hours, 8am-8:30pm, but switched to exclusively COVID-19 care in the afternoon, only seeing patients with COVID-19 after 4:30pm. The center also created several infection control protocols including a separate parking lot and entrance for these patients, as well as extensive overnight sanitation practices, to maximize hospital and patient safety.

"We were excited to play a role in the fight against this pandemic," said Jessica Branson, nurse manager for the UW Health Infusion Center. "I'm so proud of the work our staff has done to continue caring for our most vulnerable, immunocompromised patients while also taking on this lifesaving work for patients with COVID-19."

The Infusion Center began administering monoclonal antibodies in November, when Wisconsin was facing the worst of the COVID-19 surge. These antibody treatments were granted Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA to treat some patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 because they showed early success in preventing severe illness in patients who are at high-risk of experiencing severe cases of COVID-19.

The Infusion Center staff have so far treated more than 300 patients with these antibodies. Branson reports that patients have had positive experiences, often feeling symptoms dramatically improve within a day or two.

While vaccine eligibility in Wisconsin is expanding, the pandemic isn't over and COVID-19 is still a risk to many, which is why UW Health will continue to offer these services for those who could benefit from the antibodies treatment. Early studies have shown that Regeneron continues to show excellent results against COVID-19 variants.

If you recently tested positive for COVID-19, you could be eligible for this therapy. The COVID-19 antibody hotline is (608) 720-3319.


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