During your time at St. Jude, your child might be admitted as an inpatient to the Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Unit (also known as the Transplant Unit). Because it houses our most vulnerable patients, the guidelines for visiting and infection control are different than other areas of the hospital, including the other inpatient units and the clinics.
Children who are admitted to receive a transplant often have a prolonged stay and have little to no immune system function. It is important for them to be able to use the playrooms, physical therapy room, and even the hallways for fun, exercise, and a break from their rooms. Therefore, even if your child is not getting a transplant during this admission, all children and families admitted to the Transplant Unit must follow these guidelines. Working together, we can provide the highest level of safety and protection to the transplant patients.
Transplant Unit safety and infection control guidelines
- Wash your hands each time you enter or leave the transplant unit. You may have to carefully help younger visitors to be sure their hands are completely clean
- The staff will screen all caregivers and visitors, including family members every day for signs of illnesses that pass easily from one person to another. Please see “Do You Know… Sibling Screening Before Inpatient Visits.”
- Wash your hands each time you enter and leave your child’s room. Everyone should wash their hands before entering and after leaving your child’s room. This includes when you move from the parent room to your child’s room.
- Patients less than 2 years old must be in a crib when they sleep.
- Stuffed animals, cloth toys, and house slippers that have stuffing are not allowed because they collect germs easily.
- Patients cannot wear contact lenses while staying on the Transplant Unit.
- Personal blankets are allowed, but you must wash them daily.
- Never allow the patient into the parent room. The airflow in the patient’s room is stronger and designed to protect the patient. Also the patient should not sit or lie on the cloth-covered furniture in the parent room because cloth furniture is harder to keep clean.
- Please keep as few personal items in your child’s room as you can. Nothing should sit on the floor. The cleaning staff will not move items to clean. You may keep non-essential items in the parent room and bring them over to the patient room as needed.
- Items with hard surfaces, such as computers, CDs, and hand-held electronic games are good for bringing to the transplant unit, because they are easier to clean.
- Anything that is electric must be approved by Biomedical Engineering before use. Please tell your nurse to call this department if you bring an item that must be plugged into an outlet. Toys that use batteries are OK to bring.
- If your child had an allogenic transplant, he must wear an N-95 mask when outside the patient room.
- Masks are recommended for all other patients who are neutropenic (have a low neutrophil white blood cell count).
- Parents, other family members, and visitors should not use the patient’s bathroom even if the patient is an infant. It is important to keep the number of germs low in your child’s room.
- Return DVDs that have been in your child’s room to the nurses’ station. By doing this, they can be cleaned before the next patient family uses them.
- If you take food or drink out of the Nutrition Center and bring it into your child’s room, please do not put that item back in the Nutrition Center.
- Please tell your nurse if you plan any change in caregivers. This is so the staff can prepare and possibly train other people to provide care for your child.
Transplant Unit visiting guidelines
- As a parent or primary caregiver, you may stay with your child 24 hours a day, because you are not considered a visitor.
- Visiting hours are 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 5 p.m.–9 p.m. daily. Visitors can stay up to 2 hours per person per day.
- On the Transplant Unit, the total number of parents, family members, caregivers, and friends in the parent room and your child’s room at the same time must be no more than 2. Caregivers and visitors should take turns if more than 2 are present.
- Visitors should not enter the Transplant Unit if they are sick or have been exposed to illnesses that are easy to spread (contagious).
- All caregivers and visitors will be screened for symptoms of contagious diseases each day upon entry to the Transplant Unit.
- Siblings who are at least 7 years old may be visitors if they can follow infection control guidelines including cleaning their hands often. Visitors who are not brothers and sisters of the patient must be at least 16 years old. There are 2 exceptions to the age limits:
- If a sibling younger than 7 years old is the transplant donor, then that child can still be present for the infusion of their donated bone marrow if desired. The staff needs to make sure that the sibling feels well enough to attend after the donation procedure.
- If the patient is at the end of life, a sibling of any age may visit the patient room at anytime and for any length of time.
- Patients and parents are not allowed to visit other inpatient rooms. Outpatients and inpatients on other floors should not visit the Transplant Unit.
- Visitors should never go to the Transplant Unit common areas such as the laundry room, the nutrition center, and play areas. However, caregivers can visit these areas as needed.
- Only one (1) caregiver at a time may stay overnight in your child’s hospital room.
- Parents and other family and friends should not sit or sleep on the patient’s bed. It is important to keep the number of germs low in the area where your child sleeps.
- For everyone’s safety, parents must supervise their children at all times. Children may not wander freely on the Transplant Unit, in the Patient Care Center, in the Chili’s Care Center, or on the hospital grounds.
- Some vaccines are made from live viruses, which can pose a threat to the health of St. Jude patients. Visitors should not visit the Transplant Unit:
- For 4 weeks after receiving the small pox vaccine;
- For 7 days after receiving the FluMist flu vaccine; and
- For 7 days after receiving the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine and until any rash is gone.
If you have questions about the guidelines and schedules in this handout, please talk to your nurse or doctor.
This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.
St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
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