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Your bone marrow transplant stay

On this page, you will learn how to prepare for your hospital stay and the rules of staying in the BMT unit. For more information on what blood and marrow transplants are, and what to expect before, during and after your transplant, please visit the following pages below:

  • What can I do to get ready?

    Though you must stay in the hospital, we want you to be as comfortable as possible. Here are some items you may want to bring with you:

    Clothes

    You will need to bring clean clothes and pajamas. You must bring enough clothes to change into clean ones each day. We suggest you bring 4 to 5 changes of clothes. We have washers and dryers you can use on the BMT unit. Bring closed-toe shoes with non-skid soles. You may want to bring hats, scarves, or a wig in case you get cold or lose your hair.

    Bathroom items

    You should bring electric razors, blow dryers, shampoo, lotion, and toothpaste. If you wear contacts, bring your eyeglasses to the hospital. You may not wear contacts during transplant. They can increase your risk for infection.

    Medications

    Please bring an updated medication list with you to the hospital. You should not bring your actual medications to the hospital unless your physician or pharmacist has asked you to bring them.

    Things to pass the time

    You may wish to bring items to help pass the time while you are here. Each room has a TV, but you may consider bringing books, video games, laptop or tablet computers, musical instruments, crafts, or anything else that may help you remain comfortable during your stay.

    Another great way to pass time is to take advantage of the many services offered by the Integrative Medicine & Health program.

  • Your room and the BMT unit

    You will have a private room with your own bathroom. Each room has a closet, several drawer sets, and a personal refrigerator. Feel free to bring your favorite snacks and drinks. There is also a couch and recliner. The couch can convert into a bed. One person may stay overnight with you. During the day, you can have two visitors in the room with you at the same time.

    The BMT unit has a kitchen that patients and their families can use. It has a refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker. There is second kitchen that has ice, drinks, and snacks. This kitchen has a locked door that must be opened by the nursing staff. If you need ice, drinks, or snacks, please ask the nursing staff.

  • Visitor rules

    Hours. Visiting hours for the BMT unit are 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. There may be times you feel too tired to see visitors. If so, tell your nurse. We will ask your visitors to come back later.

    Visitor check in. Visitors must check in at the reception desk before they enter the BMT unit.

    Number of visitors. Your doctor firmly recommends a limit of two visitors in your room at one time. Only one person may spend the night with you in your room. Overnight visitors must be 18 years of age or older.

    Visitor restrooms. We have separate restrooms and showers for visitors. Visitors should never use a patient’s restroom or shower. This is because germs from the visitor could spread to you. Also, the visitor could be exposed to your chemo waste in the restroom.

    Visitor health. All visitors must wash their hands before entering your room. Visitors should not come see you if they are sick. This will help protect you from catching what they have. We will screen your visitors for signs of being sick before they enter your room.

    Flowers and plants. Tell your loved ones they should not send or bring you flowers or plants. They may have a fungus that could make you sick. Flowers and plants are not allowed on the BMT unit. Silk flowers are OK, as long as they do not have decorative moss.

    Children. Children under the age of 10 are not allowed on the BMT unit. During flu season (October to April), no one under 18 is allowed on the unit.

    • If your absolute neutrophil count (ANC) is over 500, you may be able to visit with children. If so, we will take you to see them in the lobby.
    • Wear a mask while you visit with children. Also, wash your hands after any contact. Before children visit, talk to your nurse to make sure that your ANC is high enough.
  • Medicine safety

    You will be given an updated medication list when you leave the hospital and at each clinic visit. Be sure to keep an up-to-date medication list with you at all times, as it might change often.

    Keep a written list of all your medicines. Write down:

    • The name of each medicine.
    • When to take it.
    • Why you take it.

    Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

    • Tell your doctor or pharmacist before you take any other medicine. This includes over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements.
    • Do not stop taking a medicine until you talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
    • If you think a medicine is not working, tell your nurse, doctor, or pharmacist.
    • If you think you have any side-effects, tell your nurse, doctor, or pharmacist.

    Be careful with pain medicines.

    • If you are taking pain medicine, take enough to keep comfortable. Do not worry about getting hooked on these medicines.
    • Do not take ibuprofen and aspirin after transplant. These can affect your platelet count and recovery.
    • Do not take Tylenol during your transplant. It can keep us from seeing that you have a fever.
  • When can I leave the hospital?

    You may leave the hospital once:

    • Your blood counts are at safe levels (ANC over 500 for three consecutive days).
    • You are eating and drinking well.
    • Your temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure are normal.
    • You are active enough to get around outside the hospital.
    • You feel well in general.

    Do you live more than 1 hour from the transplant center? If so, you will need to stay in Lexington for a while after transplant. Please talk with your transplant doctor about this before your transplant. You must stay for 30 days after your autologous and for 100 days after your allogeneic transplant or until you are well enough for weekly clinic visits – whichever comes first. You and your caregiver should both stay in Lexington. This way we can keep a close eye on your health from the hospital.

    Allogeneic recipients: If you receive an allogeneic transplant, you must stay in Lexington for a minimum for 100 days after your transplant. This is so your transplant doctor can keep a close eye on you, and keep you close to the transplant center in case you should have any complications. 

    Autologous recipients: If you receive an autologous transplant, you will be allowed to return to Louisville for your follow-up appointments. You will need to travel back to Lexington for your day 30 follow-up appointment, and for your annual transplant anniversaries.

    If you have questions regarding your follow-up schedule, please ask your discharge planner, transplant nurse, or transplant doctor.

    Our discharge planners and social workers will help you find temporary housing if you need to stay in the Lexington area.