Optimizing the delivery of early palliative care for hematology patients receiving a stem cell transplant: A role for a Nurse Practitioner

Ellen Lewis


A hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) is an intense treatment approach for patients with a hematologic malignancy and brings a significant risk for morbidity and mortality. HSCT brings hope of cure for patients; however, treatments are lengthy and burdensome from both a physical and psychosocial perspective. As the culture of HSCT has traditionally been cure-oriented, it leaves little room for a potential partnership with palliative care services, and when palliative care services are introduced, it is often too late for significant benefit. The need to standardize palliative care involvement for patients with hematologic malignancies receiving a HSCT has become necessary, yet there are challenges with the best way to create such a partnership. Nurse practitioners are a steadily growing professional body possessing the knowledge and skill necessary to fill the gap in palliative care delivery for HSCT patients. The proposed Nurse Practitioner Early Palliative Care for HSCT patients (NEST) algorithm will seek to provide a pathway in which to foster a partnership between hematology/HSCT teams and palliative services to yield the best care possible for patients.

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