While Your Child Is In Hospital for a Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT)

Nurse helping boy in hospital bed
It is natural for you to feel anxious during the weeks following your child's blood and marrow transplant (BMT). You may be worried about the possible complications that might occur. It may be helpful to talk to the social worker or psychologist available at the hospital. They can help give you support during this stressful time.

The conditioning regimen would have destroyed your child’s own blood stem cells, which suppresses the immune system. After your child's transplant, she will have low blood counts and is vulnerable to infection as well as excessive bleeding. Her blood counts begin to rise once the transplanted stem cells migrate to the bones and start producing healthy blood cells. This is called engraftment.

Your child’s health care team will take all the necessary precautions to prevent infection. They will give:

  • multiple antibiotics
  • blood transfusions
  • platelet transfusions, which will help prevent bleeding
  • medicines to help lower the likelihood of developing an immune complication called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). This is a possible complication that may happen after an allogeneic transplant.

Nurses will also take samples of your child’s blood everyday to check if the stem cells have engrafted. They also make sure your child’s organs are working properly, which can be affected after receiving high-doses of chemotherapy.

This section will explore what your child’s daily routine in the hospital will be like. It will also discuss possible complications to watch out for, and potential feeding and nutrition issues your child may face. To help you deal with the financial and emotional stress of being in the hospital, we also suggest ways you can cope and find support while your child is in the hospital. Click on the tabs on the left to learn more.

Deborah S. Berlin-Romalis, BSW, MSW, RSW

John J Doyle, MD, FRCPC, FAAP