Discharged from the Hospital
Your child's healthcare team will work with you to determine when it is time for your child to leave the hospital. Many factors will impact this decision, including:
- Side effects or complications that may occur during hospitalization
- Availability of a caregiver to help in the outpatient setting
- Type of transplant
In general, children who have an autologous stem cell transplant are discharged from the hospital more quickly than those who receive an allogeneic transplant. Children undergoing an allogeneic transplant may be in the hospital four to six weeks following the procedure if no complications occur.
Before your child leaves the hospital, a number of services will be coordinated. Your child may need home nursing care or IV services, medications, nutritional guidance or support, social services, and physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy. Your child's healthcare team will explain what your child and the caregiver(s) need to know before they leave the hospital. You will also receive information and phone numbers of who to call if your child experiences a fever or other changes in their health.
It is important to have one or more caregivers available to assist your child. Caregivers will keep track of medications, appointments, and other concerns. Caregivers may also need to provide transportation to and from clinic appointments. If your home is far from the hospital, your child may need to stay near the hospital for two to three months. If you are staying near the hospital, a shuttle service may be available.
The first few days out of the hospital may be especially difficult. Leaving that behind the round-the-clock care may cause you or your child to feel anxious. Many people find that the transition from hospital to outpatient care is harder than expected. Your comfort and confidence will increase with time and support.
The Child Family Life team is here to assist you and your child. Through art, activities, resources and books they can help with issues of building self-esteem, responses to the physical and emotional changes due to treatment, dealing with emotional responses to illness and recovery, and learning about medical procedures that are still needed.
Recovery is different for everyone. Some people recover soon after a BMT. Others recover more slowly, experience setbacks, and may return to the hospital one or more times. Some children may never fully return to their former health and activity level.
Getting back into normal routines will take time and patience for your child and the rest of the family.