With increasing frequency, oncology nurses are providing long-term care to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) recipients in nontransplantation settings. This may be a result of more patients receiving HSCTs, recipients living longer, and recipients' desire to return to their hometowns as soon as possible. Although critical to patients' initial recovery after HSCT, immune reconstitution also must remain a priority of oncology nursing care long beyond the date of discharge from a transplantation center. As patients resume their normal lives, oncology nurses need to be diligent in assessment and education to facilitate the ultimate goal, a safe life after HSCT. This article provides concise details about the short- and long-term immunologic effects of HSCT and focuses on the long-standing threat of opportunistic infections that can persist months and years after HSCT.
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