The Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Service at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children receives referrals from around the UK, including Northern Ireland, Wales, Southampton, Oxford, Cambridge and South West England. In the majority of cases our patients and their families are not local. The accommodation provided by the Rhys Daniels Trust enables the hospital to offer patients receiving treatment (and their families) a place where they can feel comfortable and at home at a difficult time.
The Stem Cell Transplant Service at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children treats a wide variety of malignant and non-malignant diseases, including leukaemia, bone marrow failure syndromes and metabolic diseases.
Stem cell transplants at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children are carried out on ward 34, a state-of-the-art 17 bedded unit which looks after children with Oncological and Haematological disorders as well as children immediately before, during and after their transplant. The Stem Cell Transplant Service performs transplants using bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cells or cord blood cells from related or unrelated donors, and also autografts using the patient’s own stem cells. Approximately 40 paediatric auto- and allografts are performed each year.
The Stem Cell Transplant pathway
The patient pathway varies from patient to patient, but what follows is the typical stem cell transplant journey. Once patients are admitted for transplant they begin their ‘conditioning’ phase. Patients have intensive doses of chemotherapy (and sometimes radiotherapy) to remove their immune system to ensure a successful engraftment of their donor’s stem cells. Conditioning lasts from 7 to 10 days. Patients then receive their donor’s stem cells, and after this day they remain in isolation in their cubicles. The length of isolation varies greatly from patient to patient, on average lasting from 4 to 8 weeks. Patients are then discharged from the inpatient unit but remain in Bristol for several weeks (sometimes months) to enable close monitoring by the stem cell transplant team within our outpatient department.
The ‘Homes from Home’ provided by the Rhys Daniels Trust are invaluable to our patients throughout the stages of transplant. Rhys’ House and Charly’s House enable patients to spend quality time with their families in a home-like environment with their siblings and other family members who can also provide support to both patients and each other during this difficult journey. The Homes are particularly important for families that temporarily relocate their whole family in order to remain as a family unit. During their outpatient period patients stay in Rhys’ and Charly’s House with their family, and are able to spend quality time in a comfortable environment whilst in the safe knowledge that they are a short distance from the hospital.
All the staff at the Stem Cell Transplant Service at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children would like to express our thanks and gratitude to the Rhys Daniels Trust and all of their supporters.