Clotting factor concentrates are given by injection into a vein – usually in the back of the hand or at the crook of the elbow. When treatment is first started, it is usually administered by a nurse or doctor at a hospital or clinic. Often treatment takes place at a Comprehensive Care Centre, which is a unit specialising in treating people with haemophilia. In the UK, there are 65 specialist haemophilia treatment centres including 27 Comprehensive Care Centres.
Adults can usually learn to administer their own treatment at home which means they can stop any bleeding quickly and effectively. Parents or carers can also be taught how to give clotting factor treatment at home, and experience has shown that children as young as 1–2 years old can receive most of their treatment in the comfort of their own home. Haemophilia specialist nurses are highly trained and experienced members of the care team, and they are usually responsible for teaching families all the techniques needed for haemophilia home care.
Occasionally, if people are experiencing difficulty accessing a suitable vein, or the treatment required is especially intensive, a device called a port-a-cath, or an external catheter called a Broviac or Hickman line, can be placed surgically into a vein, allowing factor replacement therapies to be given, and blood to be drawn easily for routine or emergency tests.