Having a stem-cell transplant is very physically demanding. Your health-care team will tell you what to expect and how you can prepare for it.

You will have tests and scans before the transplant to check your overall state of health, including your lungs, heart, and kidneys. You may also require a central line to be inserted into a vein in your chest. This line can be used to take blood samples and give medication.

You will know the date of your treatment beforehand. This means you can start to make practical arrangements, such as letting your work know, planning pet or child care, or making sure your home will be safe while you are in the hospital.

Normally, you can arrange to visit the unit beforehand and get to know the team that will be providing your care. They can tell you what things you might want to take with you for your hospital stay. They can also give you information for your visitors.

Family and friends play an important role in helping people get through their treatment. Visitors can be a great help, especially if the patient is in a single room.

Most hospitals are flexible about visits, although there may be some restrictions. Upon arrival, you should talk to the nurse in charge of caring for your family member or friend before entering the room. You will have to take certain precautions to protect your family member or friend from infection. If you are unsure of anything, ask the doctors or nurses. Here is some general advice:

  • Do not visit if you feel unwell—even if it is just a cold or a cough.
  • Do not bring children who are ill or if they have been around other children who have an infection. Do not bring children who have been recently vaccinated. Most units allow children to visit, though it is best to consult with hospital staff.
  • Always follow the hospital's instructions, such as when they ask you to wash your hands and put on a gown before entering the room.

Ask nursing staff for their advice before bringing food. Some gifts like flowers may not be allowed because of the risk of infection.

You may kiss and hug your family member or friend, but it is important to take the appropriate precautions.