Tonawanda News

April 19, 2014

Added service

DeGraff expands Infusion Center to meet patient needs

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Dan Ryszka, pharmacy manager at DeGraff Memorial Hospital, refers to the DeGraff Infusion Center, as a “hidden gem.”

The state-of-the-art center, conveniently located on the east side of the hospital between the hospital and the long term care facility, has expanded its services to those who may need blood or iron transfusions to medication infusion and injection needs for various medical conditions.

“Infusion sites are limited in the area,” Ryszka said. “So by expanding, we can offer individualized and personalized service for those who have other medical needs. This is a collaborative effort to fulfill a need in the community in a safe environment,” he added.

The center now offers infusion and injection treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, osteoporosis, plaque psoriasis, multiple sclerosis and gout, as well as blood transfusions and iron replacement therapy.

“There is a registered nurse assigned to the center to administer and monitor infusion requirements,” he said.

Ryszka monitors patient drug therapies, reviews medication profiles, lab results and nursing reports as well as communicating with physicians to ensure proper dosing.

In addition to the peaceful aura of the center, each patient’s area has a free television and access to free WiFi.

“Some treatments take one to two hours and we want to make patients as comfortable as possible,” Tricia Fucilla, manager of the infusion center, said.

One of the advantages of the center is its location within the hospital. 

Ryszka explained that if there is a reaction to a drug or some other problem with the infusion that needs a doctor’s attention, doctors on staff respond immediately.

Members of Ryszka pharmaceutical team include interns in their last year of study at the University at Buffalo or D’Youville College.

Arthur Fyles, from UB and Finda Sankoh from D’Youville, will both graduate in May and are completing internships at area hospitals.

“This is a teaching hospital which many people do not realize,” Ryszka said.

Sankoh noted that part of her work is counseling patients and explaining drugs that have been ordered for them.

“It’s very important for a patient to be satisfied and understand and just talk to them,” Sankoh said.

“Pharmacists make a point to visit patients, sit down with them at a ‘down time,’ not as they are being released, when time is short and patients are anxious to go home,” Ryszka said.

Fyles explained that “because DeGraff is a small hospital, it’s a great environment to provide personal care. It’s pretty nice to be here,” he said.

The infusion center personnel also work with insurance companies to minimize out of pocket expenses for a patient.

“At the present time, the hospital is working on having nurses certified in oncology in order to offer chemotherapy infusion,” Fucilla said. “It would be a great offering for those who need this service.”

The center also offers dedicated parking close to the center’s entrance with wide doors and large indoor space to easily accommodate wheelchairs.

“We have a lot of pride in our work and in providing personalized service,” Ryszka said. “In addition the pharmacy students who intern here come up with ideas to make things better. It’s really a hidden gem.”