Sunday, January 13, 2008

How to Care for Someone Who's Had Bone Marrow Transplants


A bone marrow transplant is when healthy bone marrow is transplanted to replace unhealthy bone marrow. Healthy bone marrow can be harvested from the patient or from a marrow donor. A bone marrow transplant may be effective for some types of cancer, hereditary blood diseases and immune deficiency disorders.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging



Step One

Protect the patient from infection by carefully cleaning the house in which she will be living. Her immune system will be very weak after having bone marrow transplants, and common germs may cause a severe infection. She will be in this weakened state for about a year, so make sure to keep the house clean at all times.

Step Two

Expect the patient who's just had a bone marrow transplant to be irritable and anxious throughout the recovery process. Remember that the patient is having to completely alter her lifestyle, and asking for help may not be easy. Be patient.

Step Three

Care for someone who's had bone marrow transplants by changing the filters in the air conditioning and the heaters regularly. Filters can trap germs and push them back into the home.

Step Four

Ensure that the doors and windows are kept closed so no outdoor germs can be brought inside.

Step Five

Refrain from any major remodeling on the house, as bacteria can be released and may cause an infection.

Step Six

Wash your hands, and have any visitors wash their hands thoroughly when they enter the house. People should also wash their hands any time they use the bathroom, change a diaper and before and after they eat.

Step Seven

Limit the number of people who come into the house. If they have a cold or are sick, they absolutely can not come in.

Step Eight

Plan to avoid outside childcare. Children can bring in a number of illnesses, so while caring for someone who has had a bone marrow transplant, make sure that the children in the house do not go to daycare or receive live vaccines.

Step Nine

Avoid letting pets into the house. If the patient had the pet before the bone marrow transplant, the pet may be allowed to enter the house, though the patient should never handle any of its waste. The pet should not sleep with the patient. If the pet is a bird or reptile, the pet needs to be placed in an alternate home while the patient is in the house.

Step Ten

Avoid having the patient do any chores that may stir up bacteria or fungi. These chores may include any yard work, dusting or vacuuming, shopping or anything that requires the patient to be around a lot of people. All of these chores carry the risk for bacteria and infection.

Step Eleven

Accompany the patient to any follow-up appointments and take notes when the doctor gives instructions.

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