Bone Marrow & Stem Cell Transplant Our Services
The Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Team is a multidisciplinary group of professionals devoted to providing comprehensive care to all bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients -- from pre-transplant patient education to post-transplant follow-up care. Our Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant facilities, located in Riley Hospital for Children and Indiana University Hospital, include a designated area for outpatient transplant services and are designed to meet the special needs of transplantation patients.
The Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Team provides the highest quality of care. Many professionals with different kinds of specialties take part in each patient's treatment. Doctors and nurses work with patients every day, while other team members such as pharmacists and dietitians work behind the scenes. They are all important to the care and treatment of patients.
Communication is an important part of the transplant treatment. Every morning, key members of the team meet to discuss each patient's care and review the plan for the day. In addition, during a weekly meeting, the team members meet with all Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant physicians and those in other support service areas to give an update on each patient and work on a weekly care plan. If patients have questions, they should ask the members of their team.
Patient education is a vital part of the process at Indiana University Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation Program.
Educating the patient and family begins immediately. From the moment the medical team meets with the patient and their family, transplant clinical coordinators and clinical nurse educators begin to work with patients and families to explain the process, answer questions, and describe the challenges they will face throughout their treatment and recovery. Patients and families attend a 1/2-day pre-transplant class that includes vascular access teaching, dietary instruction, pharmacy education as well as psycho-social and financial resources.
The patient also receives extensive education in post-transplant medications, general health guidelines, and follow-up requirements.
Post Transplant Care
Patients are in the hospital for an average of two to four weeks following transplant, depending on the disease, preparative regimen, type of transplant, and complications.
After stem cells are transplanted, it can take two to four weeks for the cells to grow, a process known as engraftment. Throughout the waiting period for engraftment, the recipient has no immune system and is vulnerable to infection, bleeding, and other problems due to the chemotherapy and radiation just received. The patient needs close monitoring and supportive care. Some patients may be placed in isolation to shield them from infection.
The patient's greatest risk for developing complications occurs during the first three months after transplant. Complete recovery of the immune system normally takes at least 12 months from the time of transplant.
Long-Term Follow-Up Care
When a patient is returned to the care of his or her referring physician, the transplant physician will send the referring physician a summary of recommendations for follow-up and possible complications.
A transplant physician is available 24 hours a day for any questions that may arise. It is important for patients and referring physicians to involve the transplant physicians, who are better able to identify and address long-term complications.
Each transplant recipient is encouraged to return to Indiana University Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program for an annual checkup.
The team is currently located at Indiana University Hospital and James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children.
Indiana University and Riley Hospital have 33 beds available for bone marrow transplant patients. Six are reserved for pediatric transplant patients, and 13 are reserved for adult bone marrow transplant patients. Ten more are shared with the Indiana University Division of Hematology/Oncology.
The hospital areas are equipped to meet the special needs of transplantation patients. For example, all inpatient rooms are either HEPA-filtered or have laminar air flow to protect immunocompromised patients from infection.
Recent renovations have been made to the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Indiana University Hospital. Special care has been given to create a comfortable, holistic, and peaceful environment. An environment that promotes healing of the body and soul is important since some transplant recipients have an average of three to four weeks in the hospital while new cells grow following a transplant.
Each room contains mosaic tiles, which represent healing and spiritual well being, and privacy curtains containing messages of peace. Other room amenities include a:
- private bathroom
- stereo system
Since 1997, Indiana University has offered outpatient transplant services. Outpatient transplantation offers a range of treatment choices, along with potential cost-saving benefits.
Among the services provided are high-dose chemotherapy, stem cell support, education, IV-hydration, and IV-antibiotics.
Outpatient services are available 24 hours daily, staffed by bone marrow transplant nurses and the attending physician. As many as five patients may receive care simultaneously in the outpatient setting.