Be The Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, provides a helpful worksheet (PDF) of questions to ask if you are comparing bone marrow transplant (BMT) centers. Our answers to these questions are summarized here. Call us at (800) 804-8824 for more in-depth answers about our pediatric transplant program and potential treatment options for your child.
Transplant center name
The formal name for our transplant center is Fred Hutchinson Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). The pediatric part of this program is called the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at SCCA.
For simplicity, many families and doctors refer to our transplant center as SCCA, the Hutch, Seattle Children’s, or even just Seattle. (SCCA was founded by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine).
Children coming to Seattle for BMT receive care at two main locations: in the Transplant Clinic at the SCCA outpatient clinic on Lake Union for most outpatient doctor visits and tests, and in the SCCA Patient Care Unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital for post-transplant recovery.
Does the patient see the same transplant doctor throughout care, an alternating team of transplant doctors, or other?
Every young transplant patient at SCCA is cared for by a personal pediatric team that includes a pediatric attending doctor, a primary pediatric provider (who may be either a fellow or a physician assistant), a team nurse, a social worker, and a Child Life specialist. Your child’s primary pediatric provider will handle most of your child’s medical care, under the supervision and direction of the attending doctor, who will be either K. Scott Baker, MD, MS, director of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at SCCA, or another faculty member on the pediatric transplant team.
What is an average length of hospital stay for patients undergoing treatment similar to mine?
This is difficult to estimate because the treatment differs between diagnoses. In general, most children having an allogeneic BMT (which means they receive stem cells from another person) will be hospitalized in Seattle Children’s SCCA Patient Care Unit for about six weeks. Your child’s SCCA team will be able to give you an estimate based on your child’s specific situation.
What are the center’s visitation policies?
Regular visiting hours at Seattle Children’s are 8 am to 8 pm. Parents, guardians, and caregivers may be with their child anytime.
Are children allowed to visit?
Yes, during regular visiting hours.
Are guest overnight stays allowed?
Yes, we expect and are prepared for a caregiver to stay overnight during a child’s hospitalization. In our special transplant unit at Seattle Children’s, there is a separate bed and television in each room for the caregiver. Two caregivers are welcome to stay each night. Other visitors, including siblings, may not stay overnight.
What infection control measures does this center use?
The new SCCA Patient Care Unit at Seattle Children’s uses state-of-the-art infection control practices and equipment, including these:
- All patients have single rooms. Transplant patients do not share with another child.
- All visitors are screened for signs and symptoms of infection when entering the unit.
- High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are used to cleanse air entering the child’s room as well as the entire Cancer Care Unit. This reduces the risk of any infections due to airborne organisms.
Can pediatric patients continue schooling while at the center?
Absolutely. We want our young SCCA patients and their school-age siblings or other family members to keep up in school during the hospitalization and throughout the outpatient phase of treatment and recovery. Our accredited school programs are a highly coordinated, with specially trained teachers from Seattle Children’s School Services.
Are tutoring services available?
Yes, individual tutors can meet with SCCA patients at their bedside during hospitalization.
What kind of support is available for patients/caregivers/family, both during the transplant and during post-transplant care?
- Child Life specialists
- Day care
- Support groups
- Social workers
- Other, including music therapy, art programs, playrooms, separate facilities for teens and young adults, educational workshops for siblings of children needing transplant, mental health services for psychosocial needs, pain management programs, holistic palliative care, online social support assistance, and more
What kinds of activities are available during my hospital stay?
The Family Resource Center at Seattle Children’s and the Patient and Family Resource Center at SCCA offer many services and activities for young patients and their caregivers and families. These include lending libraries, computer workstations, Internet connections, copiers, printers, fax machines, extra sleeping rooms for parents or caregivers, laundry facilities, kitchen area with free coffee and hot beverages, free parent massages, and free haircuts. Wellness activities available to caregivers (in addition to their training for managing care and nutrition at home) include yoga classes, crafts workshops, and music performances.
What types of Internet services are available?
Guest Wi-Fi is available at Seattle Children’s and at the SCCA outpatient clinic, and computers for email and Internet access are available in the family lounge on the transplant unit at Seattle Children’s.
What kind of temporary and long-term housing is available near the center?
Many SCCA patients and families come from out of the area, so we have many well-established options available very near our outpatient clinic and Seattle Children’s. All are clean, comfortable, affordable, and specially designed and staffed for our patients and families. These include SCCA House (80 suites), Pete Gross House (70 units), and Ronald McDonald House (80 units especially for pediatric patients and their family members).
Our social workers can help you make arrangements for one of these apartments or for other nearby temporary housing options. Find out more online about housing options for SCCA patients and their families.
How does this center support post-transplant care?
Several well-established SCCA programs are in place to support children when they leave the hospital, after they go back home, and as they get older and become adults. All caregivers receive instruction from our Transition Services team on how to provide the necessary medications and home care and who to call if there are questions or problems after going home. You will receive a detailed Patient & Caregiver Resource Manual along with individualized instructions. Transition Services also talks directly with your child’s pediatrician (or other referring doctor) about your child’s medical needs and follow-up care.
All children return to SCCA one year after their transplant for an evaluation. Many children return annually thereafter for evaluations of engraftment, growth and development, and other issues.
In the longer term, our Pediatric Long-Term Follow-Up (LTFU) team provides an extensive infrastructure to guarantee that your child is seen frequently by experienced specialists who can manage medications for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and help avoid side effects of treatment. Our dedicated LTFU doctors and nurse specialists will monitor all of your child’s potential issues—from growth and development issues; to signs of GVHD; to special issues involving dental care, gynecologic care, or vaccinations. The LTFU team will also carefully check the graft’s mixed chimerism (mixture of stem cells from your child and the donor) in those children who have had less intense conditioning. We will see your child as frequently as he or she needs to be seen, and we are always available to provide advice or help you if you have questions that your child’s pediatrician cannot answer.
Does this center have post-transplant clinics that focus on: late-effects, GVHD, quality of life, survivorship?
Yes, our Pediatric LTFU team stays in touch with patients and families to help them watch for potential late effects of transplants (such as heart problems) and GVHD. You can expect our dedicated LTFU doctors and nurses to spend a lot of time with you and your child to help you manage medications, reduce the chance of GVHD, and anticipate and avoid other potential transplant-related or nontransplant-related issues.
Monthly and annual comprehensive clinic visits, as well as surveys, are part of this follow-up. Importantly, we always individualize the education and monitoring based on your child’s clinical needs and your family’s needs and practical concerns.
Our LTFU Program tracks patients for the rest of their lives to determine how the transplant has affected their quality of life as well as their disease remission or progression. The SCCA LTFU Program is one of the largest and most respected in the country. We have been providing LTFU care to children after BMT since the 1980s. We now monitor over 6,000 patients who had a BMT as a child at SCCA.
How does this center stay in contact with the patient’s primary doctor after discharge?
Our Transition Services team informs your child’s primary doctor about your child’s post-transplant treatment and monitoring plan. Details on medications, protocols for monitoring for GVHD, and the schedule for follow-up testing, vaccinations, and other care are spelled out. We also have a dedicated phone line to special LTFU doctors and nurses to answer any questions or concerns from your child’s primary doctor (or from you).
Your child’s treatment will depend on his or her unique condition and history. We know you are looking for answers that are specific to your child’s situation. That’s why we encourage families of children who may require a BMT to talk directly to one of our pediatric transplant specialists—by phone or in person—about their child’s condition and therapy options.
A first phone call to SCCA can often answer your most urgent questions. Visiting us in Seattle for a scouting trip may also help you weigh your options. This information-gathering visit will allow you to meet our doctors and nurses, ask more detailed questions, and get a first-hand look at our clinics, hospital, and nearby housing and school options.
Contact us by phone at (800) 804-8824, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm
For more information on SCCA’s transplant experience, survival results, advanced therapies, innovative research, and extraordinary support programs, see Why Choose SCCA for Pediatric Transplant.