The results of a clinical study performed by specialised physicians from the Institut Clínic of Haematology and Oncology of Hospital Clínic, directed by Dr. Emili Montserrat, show that patients in need of autologous bone marrow transplant, can undergo this treatment from their own homes for most of the time. This innovative service improves the quality of life of patients thanks to their closeness to relatives, what has a positive impact in the patient's recovery. With this system, hospitalisation expenses are reduced to a half, since the hospitalisation of 3-4 weeks of the patients is avoided.
In this study, published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology, conducted from November 2000 until February 2005, had the participation of 78 patients with diseases such as myeloma, lymphoma and leukaemia. A total of 50 patients were treated in their homes. Results were compared with those from 50 other patients with similar characteristics who, despite their appropriateness for the home care programme, were hospitalised conventionally. Results demonstrated that the group of patients treated at home had less febrile episodes and only rarely required a hospital readmission.
Today, Hospital Clínic applies the home care programme as a routine service. "This study has demonstrated that autologous bone marrow transplant can be done ambulatorily in a safe way and with important advantages for the patient. From our start in 2000, one out of three patients is treated at home, a mean of 12-15 patients per year," claims Dr. Francesc Fernández-Avilés, specialised physician of the Institut Clínic d'Hematologia i Oncologia of Hospital Clínic and collaborator of the IDIBAPS group Transplant of haemopoietic progenitors.
In order to receive home transplantation, patients must meet some requirements. The most important are: to accept voluntarily the participation in this programme, to have somebody to take care of them 24 hours a day, to live relatively close to the hospital, and to have the required hygienic conditions at home in order to avoid complications. Regarding the procedure, patients undergo a preparation treatment and bone marrow infusion at hospital, then, they returns home with a series of medical attentions that, from that moment on, are supervised by a group of nursing staff who monitor daily the general state of the patient, whether they have presented fever or other possible complications, taking the adequate measures in each case.
This service contributes to optimise hospital resources, reduces the expenses of the procedure, and most important, permits patients to be with their families for most of the time.
Photos: Dr. Fernández Avilés at the Hospital Clínic
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Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer
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