The Tulane Blood Cancer Program utilizes a comprehensive group of transplant professionals to guide our patients through the transplant process. The team works closely together throughout every stage of the treatment process to make sure our patients receive the highest level of care as well as access to valuable support resources.
Your primary oncologist referred you to the Tulane Blood Cancer Program. He or she will continue to follow your progress, even if he/she is not directly involved in your care.
Your transplant physician is the primary doctor who will be managing your care. Transplant physicians are formally trained to perform stem cell transplant. This advanced training is called a fellowship. The training time required to treat hematology patients with stem cell transplantation is at least three years following residency. During the transplant, your transplant physician will closely monitor all aspects of your care. You will have a primary transplant physician who will oversee your care. However, it is likely you will be seen by most, if not all, of the transplant physicians as you proceed through the transplant process. The transplant physicians will keep your primary oncologist informed of your progress.
Your transplant physician may ask a surgeon to insert a central venous catheter for apheresis and use during your transplant; to perform surgery to obtain a sample of tissue for analysis; or to help in treating an unusual complication.
A radiologist studies and interprets your x-rays and scans. Specially trained radiologists perform biopsies and place large central venous catheters.
Other Specialty Physicians
Depending on your particular needs and the side effects you experience during treatment, your transplant physician may ask other physician specialists to assist in your care. Examples include pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, nephrologists and infectious disease specialists. Your transplant physician is always the physician directing your overall care during the transplant treatment. If you become confused by information given to you by different physicians, always refer your questions to your transplant physician.
Advanced Practice Providers
Advanced practice providers include physician assistants and nurse practitioners. They will be directly involved in nearly every aspect of your care. They have extensive experience in transplant management and hematology treatment. Together with your physician, they will manage your symptoms and overall care. They also perform procedures such as bone marrow biopsies, skin biopsies and lumbar punctures.
Transplant Nurse Coordinator
The transplant nurse coordinator will be your guide in preparing for transplant. This nurse has special training and experience in stem cell transplantation. The transplant coordinator and physician work collaboratively throughout this process. Your coordinator will ensure all of the necessary components of your pre-transplant workup - including consultations, scans and blood work – are completed and evaluated so you may proceed safely to transplant.
Throughout your transplant, you will be cared for by transplant-trained nurses. They will manage your care in conjunction with the other members of the transplant team. The transplant nurses administer chemotherapy and stem cells, as well as assess and manage your daily symptoms associated with transplant. They work together with the transplant physicians and nurse practitioners to assure you are as comfortable and safe as possible.
Home Care Nurses
The role of home care nurse is to provide nursing services after clinic hours. This may include patient and caregiver education regarding administration of antibiotics or anti-nausea medications and other symptom management. The home care nurse will make intermittent visits to your home on an as-needed basis.
The transplant psychologists will meet with you and your family before your transplant begins. We realize that having an illness and facing a transplant is emotionally stressful. We want to understand how you are coping with that stress and how we can assist you and your family during the transplant process. Psychologists are available to meet with you or your family members during and after transplant.
Our licensed social workers are available to you and your family to help with practical matters before, during and after transplant, such as transportation, housing, insurance and financial concerns. They can also provide information on community resources that may be available to assist you and your family.
These are trained technicians who operate the apheresis machine, which collects stem cells. They are specially trained in this procedure and know how to take care of you during this procedure.
A dietitian will talk to you about nutrition during your transplant and special dietary restrictions you must follow while you are neutropenic. If you have special dietary needs, a dietitian will work with you to help you select the best foods for you.
The schedulers are your contacts for determining the dates and times of your appointments and tests. Call them if you have questions about your schedule or if you need to make a time change.
The financial coordinators work with patients, caregivers and insurance providers to help patients obtain reimbursement for the costs related to transplantation. They are experts in this process and understand the various physical, medical and social problems affecting transplant patients. They will help you understand the cost and reimbursement for your care before treatment begins.
There are chaplains available for religious and spiritual support for patients at Tulane Medical Center. You can ask your transplant nurse coordinator or inpatient transplant nurse to contact the chaplain while you are in the hospital. The chaplain may also be of help in finding others who share your spiritual beliefs who could meet with you at your request.