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Bone marrow transplantation: support of the patient and his/her family

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Abstract

Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) has evolved over the last decade from a controversial research procedure to a standard therapeutic modality, becoming an important innovative treatment for hematological malignancies, solid tumors, immunodeficiency diseases and metabolic disorders. historically in research and clinical literature, the BMT procedure is divided into several stages, each accompanied by particular emotional tones and psychological issues. In providing care for transplant recipients, donors, and families, caregivers must be familiar with the psychological stages of the procedure, the psychological themes such as body image, and the patient's mechanisms of coping with the stress of such protocols. BMT's complex regimens of high-dose chemotherapy and total-body irradiation, germ-free environments, graft-versus-host disease, and total parenteral nutrition can precipitate significant psychological sequelae in some patients with acute and long-term consequences. In response to their illness, transplant patients may also develop emotional disturbances of anxiety, depression, agitation, and non-compliance. This paper will address the psychological care of the patient, donor and family from pre-BMT consultation, through informed consent, hospitalization and convalescence. Various psychotherapeutic, pharmacological and behavioral interventions will be briefly described. Finally, areas of research in quality of life after BMT and factors that may predict BMT adjustment and outcome will be explored. We hope this brief paper will familiarize the reader with this psychologically intriguing field and will provide a departure point for future reading, study, research, and patient/family care.

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Lesko, L.M. Bone marrow transplantation: support of the patient and his/her family. Support Care Cancer 2, 35–49 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00355238

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