After your transplant you will work with a case manager from the Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program who will help you make the transition to self-care and recovery. Barring medical complications, much of your initial post-transplant recovery time will be spent outside the hospital in a local apartment or hotel. If you are living outside the hospital, expect to make daily visits to the Outpatient Transplant Unit (OTU) until your doctor feels comfortable with your progress.
The length of your stay in Nashville will depend on the specifics of your case. In general, patients who receive autologous transplants – using their own stem cells -- remain as an inpatient or living within 10 minutes of the clinic for about 30 days. Because of additional recovery issues, patients who undergo an allogeneic transplant – using stem cells from a donor – can expect this period to extend to three months or more. During this early recovery period, you will work on regaining your strength and a sense of normalcy while avoiding exposure to germs that might threaten your weakened immune system.
To learn more about early recovery after transplantation, see:
Transplant patients must have a caregiver/companion with them most of the time as an outpatient during the initial post-transplantation phase. This helper is needed not only to assist with follow-up care, such as flushing IV lines and transporting you to doctor’s visits, but also to ensure that you get immediate assistance in case of an emergency. For transplantation patients, quick, informed medical attention is imperative when adverse developments occur.
You and your caregiver/companion will participate in a mandatory class taught by a BMT program case manager to prepare for your post-transplantation transition. The program will provide a caregiver’s education manual that covers medical, nutritional, social and emotional issues related to being a transplant recipient.
To learn more about functioning as a caregiver/companion, see:
24 Hour Service
The OTU is open every day, 24 hours a day, to provide assistance if you need it. Call the Clinic at (615) 936-1803. In case of an emergency, you should go directly to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center emergency room, where you will be met by someone from the transplant program.