Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital unveils $1.5M renovation at newly opened Outpatient Infusion Center

DeKALB – For six and a half hours, two times a week, Kelly Whitney of DeKalb is hooked up to a machine for a magnesium infusion.

Whitney was the first patient to receive an infusion at the newly dedicated Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital Outpatient Infusion Center. The center has relocated to a renovated space in Suite 201 of the Medical Office Building, inside the main hospital at 5 Kish Hospital Drive in DeKalb.

Whitney’s mother, Linda Busby, accompanies her during every infusion therapy. During the lengthy bi-weekly infusion, they sew, talk and watch TV together.

“I think it’s beautiful and the staff is wonderful,” Whitney said. “I’d love to have to not be here, but it’s very nice. … It’s like having my own nook.”

In mid-February, the hospital completed a $1.5 million renovation of medical offices to house the center. The infusion center includes seven private infusion rooms, with exterior views of the Kishwaukee Healing Garden. Rooms include TVs, sound systems and heated recliners to help patients stay comfortable during treatment.

“Our goal is not just patients’ health, we care about their physical comfort and well-being,” said the center’s Charge Nurse Christy Haug. “Our infusion rooms are a healing environment, with a window, natural daylight and doors for privacy. Some patients are in and out in a matter of minutes, some can spend as many as eight hours.”

At the hospital, a wide range of specialized outpatient infusion services are provided by experienced registered nurses who are specially trained in infusion therapy. Before the creation of the center, patients received infusions in day surgery.

Treatments available at the center include blood transfusions, hydration therapy, injections, IV antibiotic therapy, medication infusions and therapeutic phlebotomy. Some of the conditions treated include cancer care, Crohn’s disease, dehydration, headaches, heart failure, hemophilia, immune deficiencies, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and neuromuscular disorders.

“The staff is very excited to have a dedicated, private space for infusions,” Leanne Brand Phillips, manager of the center said. “We’ve needed it for quite a while and have discussed and projected it for about two years.”

Infusion therapy is a way to deliver medication or fluids through a thin catheter or needle, usually intravenously. During infusion or IV therapy, electronic computerized pumps control the rate of infusion so that patients receive the correct amount of medicine or fluids over the right amount of time.

The center has the first Omnicell automated medication dispensing system, the first pharmacy of its kind at Northwestern Medicine. There are plans to offer aromatherapy and music therapy to patients at the center in the future.

The Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Pain Clinic, which also is located on the second floor of the Kishwaukee Medical Office Building, was renovated with three new exam rooms. The two clinics will share a waiting room and staff will have two separate nurse stations. Renovation on the hospital’s emergency room will begin later this month.

“We’re happy to offer health services and provide care close to home, so patients don’t have to travel,” Haug said. “I think being able to keep patients close to home, five minutes up the road, is a huge win for the community.”

For information or to make an appointment, visit the center’s website or call 815-766-9000. TTY for those who are deaf or hard of hearing at 771.

Katrina J.E. Milton

Award-winning reporter and photographer for Shaw Media publications, including The Daily Chronicle and The MidWeek newspapers in DeKalb County, Illinois, since 2012.