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Patients asked, transplant community answered

Post-transplant return-to-work guidance can help overall quality of life

Cell transplant patients have spoken. They’ve said they want help returning to work – an important quality of life milestone in their post-transplant lives. Currently, only 50% to 60% of transplant patients return to work at a median of three years post-transplant. And cancer survivorship support services haven’t usually addressed work-related goals, leaving patients to figure it out for themselves.

The American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy formed a Return to Work Guidance Committee to assist. Using evidence from transplant and cancer literature, the committee developed recommendations for health care providers to help their transplant patients safely return to work. They concluded that return to work assistance should begin before transplant even takes place.

Preparation for return to work includes optimizing and maintaining physical fitness; understanding disability benefits and financial assistance; maintaining communication with co-workers and employer; determining work modifications; evaluating physical, cognitive and psychological condition; and timing a return to work.

The professionals involved with these areas of patients’ lives include physicians, advanced practice providers, clinical psychologists, social workers, nurses and nurse navigators, physical and occupational therapists, disability benefits counselors and employers.

“Returning to the workplace following a transplant is complicated,” says Katie Schoeppner, Director, Patient Services, National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match. “Patients often have questions regarding their health and safety, legal rights and insurance status. The medical team plays an important role in guiding patients through the process and directing them to resources that can help.”

 Learn more by reviewing a comprehensive analysis and description of the study.

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