Self-Infusion is an important part of a person with haemophilia’s life. Self-infusion is when a person with haemophilia gives treatment (factor) to themselves, through a Freddie or more commonly a vein. Before starting self-infusion, a child with haemophilia is entirely dependent on someone else to get their factor. They are either unable to go on school trips or outings or one of their parents may need to go with them on every trip. This can lead to a lack of self-confidence or even frustration as they just want to be like their friends. When a child starts to self-infuse, it is the next stage in them taking control of their haemophilia. They can now take care of themselves and that creates a feeling of independence and confidence. Self-infusing for the first time can bring fear which is quickly overwhelmed by pride and happiness. Starting self-infusion can be daunting for parents and children, especially when things are going well as they are. In case you think your child is too young the average age when children start to self-infuse is 7-9 years old, but there have been cases of younger children than this self-infusing.
The best advice in relation to self-infusing is to do it as soon possible, when the child is ready. If your child is not ready to self-infuse, try getting them to help you with the process – let them mix the factor etc. This will help them feel more comfortable when the time comes for them to self-infuse. Self-infusion is the next step in children becoming independent in giving their own factor. The earlier we start it and the more we get kids on board the easier it is to actually train them to do it themselves. Self-Infusing is much easier and quicker. It makes the child much more independent. It eliminates the complications that goes along with a port – no risk of infection, no risk of blockages and no risk of breakage. It is much more portable, less equipment needed for peripheral access than port access. Once your port stops working you are already trained and you are good to go.
Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin have a training programme to help kids and parents become comfortable and confident in using veins for infusion.
Please click on the links below to see some very interesting presentations from the haemophilia nurses in Crumlin:
Self Infusion – Imelda Kelly
Self Infusion – Pathway to Independence Mary Kavanagh
Don’t forget to contact the I.H.S. when your child self-infuses for the first time and we will reward them with a cert and voucher.
For more information on self-infusion, please speak to a member of the Haemophilia Team at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin.