Everyone involved in the U-M Blood and Marrow Transplant Program is committed to providing world class care to our patients and their families. Ours is a team approach, with patients and families part of the team - in fact, they are the most important part. We encourage patients and family members to raise questions and concerns, and to play very active roles during the treatment and recovery journey.
The transplant process involves many steps and can take weeks or even months to complete. During that time, patients and family members can expect to get to know and work closely with all of the members of the transplant care team:
Throughout the transplant process, medical care is provided by a transplant physician. The physician sees patients on a daily basis, conducting examinations, answering questions and keeping patients and family members informed. Responsibilities of the transplant physicians rotate every 2 weeks, allowing patients the opportunity to receive care from our entire team during their hospitalization and recovery. Weekly meetings are held with physicians and other team members to discuss and update the status of every patient. Generally, the physician responsible for the patient's initial consultation also coordinates follow-up care once the patient returns home to his or her referring physician.
Clinical Nurse Coordinators
A nurse coordinator is assigned to each patient prior to admission and plans the necessary testing and treatment needed to get ready for transplant. The coordinator also develops the blood or marrow donation schedule. The clinical nurse coordinator is a patient's primary contact prior to transplant.
Transplant Unit Staff Nurses
Transplant staff nurses are educated in the care and special needs of transplant patients. They organize care from the time a patient is admitted until he or she is discharged from the hospital. They meet with each patient soon after admission to discuss the transplant process. They are also available to help patients and families with any physical or emotional problems that may arise. Once discharged, the patients work with outpatient clinic nurses to develop individualized care plans to continue the recovery process at home.
Advanced Practice Nurses/Physician Assistants
These caregivers have received advanced training in transplant patient care. They have day-to-day responsibility for patient care in the hospital and in the clinic, and work in close collaboration with the attending transplant physicians and staff nurses.
A transplant social worker is available to patients and families to discuss specific needs and concerns. The social worker can provide assistance with transportation, housing and financial questions, and can help patients cope with the emotional aspects of the transplant process. If needed, the social worker can also explain the process and the patient's needs to schools or employers.
Patient Accounts Representative
This team member has all of the necessary information regarding insurance approval and coverage, anticipated expenses, and the billing process, and is able to interface between patients and their insurance companies.
The transplant nutritionist meets with patients to explain the special diet followed during the hospital stay. The nutritionist monitors patients' nutrition intake, offering suggestions on how to achieve nutrition goals and prevent transplant-related weight loss. The nutritionist is available to assist patients with their dietary needs and concerns both during treatment and after discharge.
A clinical pharmacist participates in the planning of chemotherapy and the administration of any other medication prescribed as an inpatient or an outpatient. The pharmacist is available to answer any and all questions about medications, interactions and side effects.
Blood Bank Technologist
These specialists coordinate all blood products for transplant patients and their donors, processing all stem cell products after harvesting, and coordinating apheresis procedures.
Patients receiving allogeneic (related or non-related donor) transplants may benefit from a moderate program of physical activity after transplantation. A physical therapist meets with these patients after admission and assists them with developing an appropriate activity program.
Still have questions?
The nurses at Cancer AnswerLine™ have answers. Call 1-800-865-1125 and you'll get a personal response from one of our registered nurses, who have years of experience in caring for people with cancer.