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An outpatient stem cell transplant offers the full benefits of this potentially life-saving treatment while allowing you to spend nights in the comfort of your own home or nearby hotel. At the University of Chicago Medicine, the same team of expert physicians and nurses who provide inpatient stem cell transplant care oversee our outpatient program.
During an outpatient stem cell transplant, the patient undergoes the full course of treatment (pre-transplant evaluation, conditioning, infusion of their stem cells, engraftment and recovery) on an outpatient basis rather than being admitted to the hospital for three to four weeks of treatment.
The patient and a designated caregiver make daily visits to our outpatient stem cell transplant unit on the 10th floor of the Center for Care and Discovery. Tests and infusions are performed in a private treatment bay equipped with a comfortable infusion chair. Patients may read, watch a personal wall-mounted TV or surf the web during treatment. Patients typically spend one to three hours at the unit daily for three to four weeks. Each day, when treatment is over, the patient returns home or to a designated hotel near the UChicago Medicine campus. The outpatient unit is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
Advantages of outpatient stem cell transplant include the following:
Outpatient stem cell transplant is offered on a case-by-case basis after a thorough evaluation. Our program currently provides outpatient treatment to patients who meet the following criteria:
Our aim is to offer outpatient stem cell transplant to an even broader group of patients with other blood disorders. Some patients having an allogeneic transplant (transplant from non-twin donor stem cells) may be eligible to have their preparative chemotherapy before the transplant as an outpatient.
For several years, outpatient stem cell transplant has been offered at a handful of leading hospitals, giving physicians experience to determine the best conditions for a good outcome. At UChicago Medicine, our outpatient stem cell transplant service is tailored to deliver the highest quality care to patients who are most likely to benefit from this option. Every step of the treatment process is designed to ensure safe, effective care. Daily visits and our commitment to close communication with patients and caregivers ensure that early signs of infection or other complications are found and addressed in a timely manner.
If hospitalization is necessary, patients are easily transitioned into our dedicated inpatient unit. Even if the patient must spend time in the hospital, he or she may eventually resume outpatient treatment.
Typically, bleeding or signs of infection, such as fever, will require hospitalization. However, in some cases, we're able to prescribe medicines to reduce fevers and treat infection on an outpatient basis. The majority of patients receiving outpatient blood and bone marrow stem cell transplant therapy will not be admitted to the inpatient unit.
The designated caregiver plays a critical role in the treatment process and is essential to a good outcome. Requirements for the caregiver include:
Whether the treatment is offered in the hospital or on an outpatient basis, patients and their families receive thorough support and education to prepare for all phases of the stem cell transplant process.
Candidates for outpatient transplant and their designated caregivers meet with nursing staff and a social worker to review the process and requirements to ensure a successful transplant. Patients and caregivers receive detailed educational materials that outline medication schedules, care for the central venous catheter, how to spot signs of infection, measures to prepare a safe, clean environment at home and more.
Our team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer questions and coordinate care.