A charity known for its work promoting the bone marrow register has marked a change of policy direction by appointing its first post-transplant specialist nurses.
Hayley Leonard has been recruited by charity Anthony Nolan to fill the first of three new posts, which are being introduced this year.
The Anthony Nolan nurses will be introduced into the care pathway before the patient is discharged and, in the months that follow, will help them with their return to home and work life.
“Our new nurses will provide integrated care and support to bone marrow transplant recipients”
Chiara De Biase
The blood cancer charity and bone marrow register coordinator said the move was to further improve the support that people received after a bone marrow transplant.
It said it wanted to increasingly focus on improving quality of life for people after a transplant, as well as continuing with its established role of matching bone marrow or stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in need of transplant.
“It’s not enough just to provide a life-saving match for people who need a transplant and say our job’s done,” said Chiara De Biase, head of patient experience at Anthony Nolan.
“Our new nurses will provide integrated care and support to bone marrow transplant recipients, helping them to enjoy a good quality of life after transplant,” she said.
“Having a dedicated post-transplant nurse means the pressure isn’t on the patient to navigate the health and social care system themselves”
Ms Leonard will be based at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London. One of the other two posts will be located at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, while the third will work across both Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.
“After a transplant, patients can often feel lost,” said Ms Leonard. “They’ve focused so much on finding a donor and getting to the transplant itself, that they may feel unprepared for the long road ahead to recovery, which can include a wide range of physical and emotional complications.”
“Patients don’t just have medical needs after a transplant, such as Graft vs Host Disease – they might also need help with getting back to work or school, housing or financial issues, emotional concerns about the cancer returning as well as ongoing issues like fatigue, loss of appetite, and even fertility,” she added.
“Having a dedicated post-transplant nurse means the pressure isn’t on the patient to navigate the health and social care system themselves,” she said. “We’re here for them throughout their journey as one point of contact.”