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What to expect on the Transplant Unit

 

Getting a transplant can be a challenging experience for many children and their families. The following explains what routines you can expect throughout your child’s stay on the Transplant Unit, and it gives guidelines for family members. By understanding these schedules, you will help us provide the best and safest care for your child.

Transplant Unit safety and infection control guidelines

  • The visiting and infection control guidelines for the Transplant Unit are different than in other areas of the hospital, please see the “Do you Know ... Transplant Unit Guidelines” for details.
  • For their protection, transplant patients must stay on the unit during their stay and not visit the cafeteria or other areas of the hospital (unless it is for a test or procedure).

Daily care

  • Every 4 hours, a nurse will check your child’s vital signs—temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and heart rate. Times for vital signs are 4 a.m., 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 4 p.m., 8 p.m., and 12 a.m.
    • The staff must check vital signs so we can monitor your child’s medical condition. There may be other times when the staff will need to check your child’s vital signs.
  • Throughout the day and night, the nurse will be in and out of the room to assess your child, take blood samples for lab work, and give medicines. The nurse will collect samples for lab work every morning between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. and as needed.

Your child’s daily routine

The high dose therapy used in transplant can cause skin breakdown and sores in the lining of your child’s digestive tract. These sores can happen anywhere from the lips to the rectum. With little to no immune system, it is important to preserve and protect the skin. This makes bathing and mouth care most important to your child’s health. Your child’s stay on the Transplant Unit will include:

  • Daily baths;
  • Rectal wipes 2 times a day; and
  • Mouth care 3 times a day.

Fluid overload is a common problem early after transplant. Correctly measuring every drop of liquid that goes in and out of a transplant patient, along with weighing your child 2 times a day will allow the transplant doctors to keep fluid balanced. It also helps prevent an overload of toxic substances in your child’s body.

  • Weights will be taken 2 times a day at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Keeping up strength and endurance, especially preserving strong lung function, is critical for getting your child through the demanding procedures of transplant. It also helps your child most quickly return to their best health possible after transplant. Your child will follow this exercise schedule each day while on the Transplant Unit:

  • Walk at least 5 laps around the floor during the course of the day (depending on age and health status)
  • Sit up in a chair and take part in room activity at least 4 hours per day.
  • Acapella® (breathing exercises) 4 times a day

Receiving chemotherapy

  • While your child is receiving chemotherapy, the patient care associate or nurse will perform diaper checks and changes every 2 hours.
  • If your child is receiving chemotherapy, please read the Patient Medication sheet for that medicine to learn more about the special precautions you should take as a caregiver.
  • If your child is getting thiotepa, the staff will give you detailed bathing instructions for your child. Your clinical nurse specialist or nurse will tell you if this applies to your child.
  • Depending on which chemotherapy your child receives, he may be asked to urinate every 2 hours throughout the night.

Questions?

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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