José María, paciente de Linfoma no-Hodgkin
Cristina (the girl in the photograph with the red Jumper) is neither a patient nor family of a patient. She is a nurse from the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona, who comes every day to visit José Mª.
José Mª is 55 years old and from Huesca. 12 years ago it was detected that he had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and after many years of relapsing, José Mª has undergone a bone marrow transplant. Normally, after completing an operation such as this, the patient is required to stay in hospital. José Mª has benefitted from a pioneering innovation in Spain: the first flat for recovering transplant patients, launched by our Foundation.
He explains that "at first I felt a little uncertain at the thought of not being in the hospital but now I am delighted. It has been possible to go for short walks and above all to be with my family".
The José Carreras Foundation flat for recovering transplant patients is the first of its kind in Spain. Lots of leukaemia patients have to undergo a transplant in the same city that they received treatment or in the adjacent towns. However, more often than not, their home is too far away to be able to get quickly to the hospital in the case of an emergency. Normally, the fact that these patients continue to stay in the hospital means two things: the occupation of a hospital bed that could be used by another patient, and the patient themselves cannot benefit from the comfort of being in a more private and welcoming place. These are the principal aims of the Foundation's new project, which began in 2009.
The flat is 200m from the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona and within the programme the patient is monitored daily by a team of nurses, who apply dressings and see that everything is generally ok, etc.
Cristina explains: "there tends to be increasingly less need to isolate patients after transplants now that there are less immune problems. There are a series of rules but they tend to be common sense. The mask has two functions: on one hand to protect, evidently, but also to remind the patient that there have to be certain precautions, something that is taken for granted in a hospital environment".
Tomi, the wife of José Mª, also plays an important role: her husband will not be alone during the 15 days that he will recuperate in the flat. "Thanks to the Carreras Foundation. We feel very fortunate. We have almost the same feeling as if we were at home", she told us.
Become a member of the cure for leukaemia and other haematological malignancies, HERE
Find out more about bone marrow donation, HERE