When your child is ready to leave the hospital, she will return home to continue the rest of her recovery from her blood and marrow transplant (BMT).
- For children undergoing autologous transplant, this is usually between three to six months.
- For children undergoing allogenic transplant, this period of time is at least six months.
Some children leave the hospital and return easily to their normal daily routines, but many others take longer to get over the effects of being in the hospital. You may notice some changes in your child's behaviour when you return home. Younger children may whine and cling to you more, wet the bed, have nightmares, or show more fear. Older children may also want more attention, become upset if you leave even for a short time, or have nightmares. Fatigue is another major issue, as it can lead to irritability and other behaviour changes.
These types of reactions are normal, even when the child has been well prepared for her BMT. If the changes in your child's behaviour are extreme or last more than three or four weeks, call your health care team.
Your child will need care and support from you and the health care team after the transplant.
Caring for your child when she gets home from hospital will take a lot of time and energy. If you have other children at home you may need extra help. Think about the following questions:
- Who will be caring for your child when she comes home?
- Will you or a helper be able to lift or carry your child from the bed to a chair or the toilet if needed?
- Do you have family or friends who will be able to help you if needed? You may need help with things like grocery shopping, cleaning, and laundry.
- Are there community supports that you can access and funding available? For example, in Ontario, there are the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), Special Services at Home (SSAH), and the Assistant for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) program. Similar types of support may be available in your area.
Because your child’s immune system is still recovering from the transplant, it is important to minimize exposing your child to any possible sources of infection. Once your child is feeling strong enough, she will be ready to return to school full-time.
You can learn more about what to consider when your child is ready to go home in this section.